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UN special envoy Gambari quits Burma job

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UN special envoy Gambari quits Burma job

by Mungpi

Thursday, 03 December 2009 20:23

New Delhi (Mizzima) – United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday announced that Ibrahim Gambari would stop being the special envoy to military-ruled Burma and a replacement will be sought.

Marie Okabe, deputy spokesperson for Ban, at a press briefing in New York, told reporters that Ban has communicated  his intention to appoint Gambari as Joint Special Representative of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur, and he would find a replacement for him as the special envoy to Burma.

Gambari will replace Rodolphe Adada and would begin his mission to eastern Sudan in January 1, 2010, Okabe said.

Though the Nigerian diplomat will be shifted from his mission to Burma, Okabe said, “The Secretary-General would continue his good offices role on Myanmar and would seek a replacement for Gambari.”

Gambari was appointed the special envoy to Burma in 2006 by the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, with the task of facilitating a political dialogue between the military junta and opposition groups including ethnic minorities as part of a larger process of national reconciliation in the Southeast Asian nation.

However, critics said Gambari, who had visited Burma eight times during his tenure as the special envoy, failed to achieve his principle objective of facilitating a dialogue between the junta and the opposition.

Win Tin, a senior member of Burma’s opposition party – the National League for Democracy – told Mizzima on Thursday that Gambari had been used by the ruling junta, – the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC).

“I would say he [Gambari] has failed in his mission. But that’s not to disregard his efforts and that is because the junta has had no intention to change,” Win Tin said.

While expressing his appreciation for the efforts of the UN Secretary General’s good offices, Win Tin said, to solve Burma’s problems requires a unified stand by the international community.

Win Tin said, Gambari, as the special envoy to Burma had achieved two things – a significant statement made by Aung San Suu Kyi on her responsibility to consider ethnic minorities and Than Shwe’s stern pre-conditions made for holding direct talks with Aung San Suu Kyi.

In November 2007, the opposition leader released a statement through the visiting UN envoy, stating that she is seriously considering the interest of ethnic nationalities and also said she had been given the mandate by ethnic nationalities to represent them.

Win Tin said it was a significant statement made by the Nobel Peace Laureate and thanked Gambari for being a useful channel to release the statement.

In yet another of Gambari’s visit to the Southeast Asian nation, following the junta’s brutal crackdown on monk-led protesters in September 2007, the junta supremo Than Shwe told him that he is willing to talk to Aung San Suu Kyi if she stops advocating confrontation, utter devastation, economic sanctions and isolation.

According to the veteran politician and journalist, who spent 19 years in prison for his political beliefs, Gambari has made himself useful for Aung San Suu Kyi and Than Shwe in expressing their stands through him.

“I think these two statements are the only thing he was able to get out of his mission to Burma. And that’s because he had been manipulated,” Win Tin added.

But the NLD would like to express its appreciation for the interest and efforts he took for Burma, Win Tin said, adding that he would like to urge Gambari to advice his successor, if there is one, not to follow in his footsteps.

http://www.mizzima.com/news/world/3113-un-special-envoy-gambari-quits-burma-job-.html

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Written by Lwin Aung Soe

December 3, 2009 at 8:12 pm

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