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Posts Tagged ‘Ban Ki-moon

Ban Concerned about NLD Dissolution

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Ban Concerned about NLD Dissolution

By LALIT K JHA

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Irrawaddy

WASHINGTON—UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed “concern” over the Burmese military junta’s move to dissolve 10 political parties in the run-up to the November general election.

“The Secretary-General notes with some concern the decision by the Union Election Commission to dissolve 10 political parties prior to the general election, including the National League for Democracy and four others for failing to renew their registration,” Martin Nesirky, a spokesperson for the secretary-general, told reporters at his daily press conference at the UN headquarters in New York on Wednesday.

“He [Ban] further notes that the Union Election Commission has issued campaigning guidelines for the remaining 37 parties to register to contest the elections,” Nesirky said in response to a question. The secretary-general once again urges the Burmese authorities to ensure conditions conducive to a fully inclusive and participatory electoral process, he said.

Nesirky said that a ministerial-level meeting of the Group of Friends of Myanmar is expected to be held in New York on Sept. 27 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Details of the meeting are still being worked out, he said.

Responding to a question about the role of the UN Good Offices, Nesirky said the developments in Burma are being closely monitored by the team of officials in New York.

The UN spokesman added that Ban has expressed his frustration concerning access to the Burmese authorities.

Meanwhile, an eminent American scholar on Asian affairs on Wednesday warned the international community that they would be committing a mistake if they focus on encouraging the military junta to hold free and fair elections in November.

“The central focus of the international community should not be free and fair elections,” said David Williams, the John S. Hastings professor of law at Maurer School of Law, Indiana University, and director of the Center for Constitutional Democracy.

“Instead, it should be seeking ways to encourage the Burmese government—both the military, which will still hold real power after the election, and the new civilian office-holders—to undertake sustained dialogue with all of the country’s stakeholders, especially its ethnic minorities,” he said.

Williams said that the Burmese military junta has ensured that its hand-picked candidates will win in November by imposing restrictions on opponents, including expensive filing fees, tight deadlines and limits on who can be on the ballot.

While the elections may produce a civilian government, the constitution allows the military to declare a state of emergency, dissolve the government and seize power legally, he said, adding that even if the civilian government has real authority, that would not address the ethnic divisions that lie at the heart of Burma’s decades-old civil war.

“The only path to true change for Burma—trilateral dialogue among the government, the democratic opposition and the minorities that have been fighting for a measure of self-determination,” Williams said.

http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=19482

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

September 16, 2010 at 3:37 pm

Posted in Varieties in English

Tagged with ,

Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi turns 65 in confinement

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Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi turns 65 in confinement

By The Associated Press

Saturday, June 19, 2010 at 8:29 p.m.

YANGON, Myanmar — Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi marked her 65th birthday Saturday locked in her dilapidated lakeside compound as calls for her freedom erupted around the world.

President Barack Obama and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon demanded Suu Kyi’s release in statements echoed at rallies and prayer vigils. Supporters threw a birthday party at the suburban Yangon home of a fellow opposition member. It was attended by more than 300 people but not the guest of honor.

A shadow of a Myanmarese is seen as she speaks at Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi’s birthday celebration in New Delhi, India, Saturday, June 19, 2010. Suu Kyi marked her 65th birthday Saturday locked in her dilapidated lakeside compound as calls for her freedom erupted around the world. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Holding candles and yellow roses, they lit a birthday cake with 65 candles and released 65 doves into the sky while chanting, “Long Live Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.” Plainclothes security watched and videotaped the event.

Suu Kyi has now spent 15 birthdays in detention over the past 20 years, mostly under house arrest. She is the world’s only imprisoned Nobel Peace laureate.

A Myanmar refugee holds a candle during an event to celebrate the 65th birthday of Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Saturday, June 19, 2010. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

“It is very sad that she cannot celebrate her birthday in freedom,” said her lawyer Nyan Win.

Confined to her home, Suu Kyi planned to celebrate by providing a lunch of chicken curry and an Indian-style flat bread for the three dozen construction workers helping to renovate her crumbling two-story mansion, Nyan Win said.

A Myanmar refugee living in Malaysia releases a pigeon during an event to celebrate the 65th anniversary of Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Saturday, June 19, 2010. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

The tight security surrounding Suu Kyi’s home allowed the delivery of a birthday cake and a bouquet of roses, orchids and lilies sent by political supporters. Members of her National League for Democracy party are planting 20,000 trees around the country, mostly on the grounds of Buddhist monasteries, to mark the occasion.

A confidante, Win Tin, made an impassioned plea for Suu Kyi’s release.

“To the international community I want to reiterate her words: ‘Please use your liberty to promote ours,'” said Win Tin, who co-founded the party with Suu Kyi and himself spent nearly 20 years jailed as a political prisoner.

A Myanmar refugee in a traditional costume holds a candle during an event to celebrate the 65th birthday of Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Saturday, June 19, 2010. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

Global condemnation over her imprisonment has failed to change the junta’s harsh attacks on all dissent or soften their stance on Suu Kyi, whose steely grace, charisma and popularity have remained in tact despite her long confinement.

Ahead of historic elections planned for later this year, Suu Kyi remains the biggest threat to the ruling junta. Myanmar, also known as Burma, has been dominated by military rule since 1962.

The vote will be the first in two decades. Suu Kyi’s party overwhelmingly won the last election in 1990, but was never allowed to take power.

A protester eats a birthday cake during a rally outside the Myanmar Embassy at Manila’s financial district of Makati, Philippines, Friday, June 18, 2010. The protesters called for the release of Myanmar’s detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi who turns 65 on Saturday. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Obama praised Suu Kyi’s “determination, courage and personal sacrifice in working for human rights and democratic change in Burma inspire all of us who stand for freedom and justice.”

“I once again call on the Burmese government to release Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners,” Obama said in a statement.

The U.N. chief said he remains “deeply concerned” that Suu Kyi is still under house arrest.

“I have been persistently, consistently demanding that all the political prisoners including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi should be released without condition as soon as possible so that they would be able to participate in the political process,” Ban said. Daw is a term of respect in Myanmar.

British Ambassador to Indonesia Martin Hatfull speaks to the media against a background of a large banner of Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi during a press conference outside the British Embassy in Jakarta , Indonesia, Friday, June 18, 2010. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who will celebrate her 65th birthday on Saturday, has been detained by the country’s military ruler for 14 of the past 20 years. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana )

In Britain, where concern for the jailed democracy leader runs high, Prime Minister David Cameron wrote Suu Kyi an open letter telling her that he had “long found your example deeply inspiring.”

“The injustice of your continuing detention mirrors the injustice that the regime has inflicted on your country and your people for so many years,” Cameron wrote.

Britain’s Foreign Office encouraged people from around the world to post birthday greetings on Facebook that British diplomats have pledged to pass on to Suu Kyi’s representatives.

Refugee children from Myanmar hold posters of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi as they sing a song during an event to celebrate the 65th anniversary of Suu Kyi in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday, June 18, 2010. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate will celebrate her 65th birthday on Saturday. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

Under new election laws, Suu Kyi and other political prisoners – estimated at more than 2,000 – are effectively barred from taking part in the polls. The NLD has called the laws unfair and undemocratic and is boycotting the vote, which critics have dismissed as a sham designed to cement military rule. The party was disbanded after refusing to register for the elections by a May 6 deadline.

A refugee from Myanmar wears a T-shirt with a print of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi as she sings a song during an event to celebrate the 65th anniversary of Aung San Suu Kyi in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday, June 18, 2010. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate will celebrate her 65th birthday on Saturday. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

Suu Kyi’s detention was extended by 18 months in August 2009 when she was convicted of violating the terms of her house arrest by briefly harboring an American intruder. The sentence will keep her locked away during the elections.

Birthday candles are lit in front of an image of Myanmar’s detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi during a small party of her 65th birthday at a home of a member of her party National League for Democracy Party Friday, June. 18, 2010 in Yangon, Myanmar. (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)

Activists and politicians have rallied from Sydney to Brussels to wish the opposition leader a happy birthday and demand her release. More candlelight vigils, concerts and Buddhist prayer ceremonies were planned later Saturday in European and American cities.

Associated Press writers Jocelyn Gecker in Bangkok , Rohan Sullivan in Sydney, Raphael Satter in London and Aoife White in Brussels contributed to this report.

The Associated Press

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/jun/19/myanmars-aung-san-suu-kyi-turns-65-in-confinement/

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

June 20, 2010 at 9:46 am

UK Favors Sending Myanmar to ICC, China Says It’s Sovereign, UN’s Ban Defers

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UK Favors Sending Myanmar to ICC, China Says It’s Sovereign, UN’s Ban Defers

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 24 — Amid calls to refer the military government of Myanmar to the International Criminal Court, like Sudan was referred, UK Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant told the Press on Wednesday that his country would support such a referral. But, he said, the Security Council lacks the unanimity necessary for such a referral. Video here.

Inner City Press asked China’s new Ambassador to the UN Li Baodong what his country thinks of the Council discussing Myanmar’s election laws. “General elections in a country is a matter of sovereign states,” he replied, “and should be respected.” This principle, he said, applies to Myanmar. Video here, from Minute 2:50.

When Lyall Grant emerged to speak about Myanmar, or Burma, Inner City Press asked him about China position. We disagree, he said, noting that Myanmar is on the agenda of the Security Council, that it can instability that is a threat to international peace and security.

But when Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addressed the media, Inner City Press asked him about Aung San Suu Kyi’s call on her National League for Democracy to not register for the upcoming elections, given how flawed the election laws are.

“Let me answer tomorrow afternoon,” Ban Ki-moon told Inner City Press. Video here from Minute 7:34, UN transcript below. There will be a meeting of Ban’s Group of Friends on Myanmar, to be addressed by Ban’s chief of staff Vijay Nambiar. We’ll be there.


UN’s Ban and China’s Li Baodong, Friends on Myanmar

Footnotes: On March 23, Inner City Press asked Ban’s spokesman to confirm or deny that Ban proposed a former Indonesian foreign minister to replace Ibrahim Gambari as his envoy to Myanmar, but that Than Shwe vetoed it. Nesirky said, “that’s the first I hear of it,” despite the report being included in an article Nesirky said was the only story alleging that Nambiar secretly traveled to Myanmar earlier this year.

Inner City Press asked the UK’s Lyall Grant if the UK believe that a permanent replaced for Gambari should be named. His reply noted that Nambiar is only in the position on an “interim” basis. As Inner City Press has previously reported, the U.S. has said it prefers not naming a permanent replacement until after the elections, so that the person is “not stained” by the elections.

From the March 24 UN transcript:

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask in the run-up to this meeting with the Group of Friends of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi has said that her party, the NLD [National League for Democracy], and other opposition parties, shouldn’t even register for the poll, that the election laws are flawed. I’m wondering; you convened the meeting, what’s your thinking of what the UN can do, given that the main opponent now wants to boycott it?

SG Ban: let me answer tomorrow afternoon after I have convened the meeting of the Group of Friends of Myanmar. I need to discuss this matter with the ambassadors participating in that meeting. I will have a clearer answer, if you excuse me.

* * *

As London Calls for Myanmar Elections Meeting, UN Denies Nambiar Trip, His Replacement Vetoed?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 16, updated — Responding to the election laws proclaimed by Myanmar’s military government, excluding Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisons from running for office, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he has requested an emergency meeting at the UN in New York. But what kind of meeting?

As the UK’s Permanent Representative to the UN Mark Lyall Grant walked into the Security Council on Tuesday morning, he was asked about his prime minister’s statement: would the UK be asking for a Security Council meeting? He paused, then replied, “Uh, no comment on that, I’ll get back to you.”

While one might expect the UK Mission to the UN to be able to, and to be eager to, explain a letter to the UN from Prime Minister Gordon Brown, further inquiry by Inner City Press indicates that Brown’s request is for a meeting of the Group of Friends of the Secretary General on Myanmar, which includes among others former Council member Indonesia.

A former UN correspondent now in Washington reports that “the Burmese military junta is understood to have ‘vetoed’ the name of Noer Hassan Wirajuda, the former Indonesian foreign minister, as the new UN Envoy for Burma.” The UN has denied another portion of this report.

Update: at the conclusion of his March 16 press conference, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon if he had received a letter from Gordon Brown requesting a meeting of his Group of Friends on Myanmar. There may soon be a meeting of the Group of Friends, Mr. Ban answered, but said twice that he has not received a letterfrom Gordon Brown.

The UK-MFA press release quotes Gordon Brown that “I have today written to the UN Secretaty General to call for an urgent meeting in New York to discuss these developments.” So can the UK not deliver a letter?

Some said that Brown, if and when his letter is delivered, has only requested a meeting with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, whose chief of staff Vijay Nambiar has replaced previous UN envoy on Myanmar Ibrahim Gambari, at least on an interim basis. On March 15, Inner City Press asked Mr. Ban’s spokesman Martin Nesirky:

Inner City Press: did Vijay Nambiar travel to Myanmar? There are some reports that the letter described by the Secretary-General some time ago at his stakeout was in fact delivered by Mr. Nambiar. Can you confirm or deny that?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, I have seen one report, not some reports. I’ve seen one report, and I have been in touch with Mr. Nambiar, and he says it’s not true.

At a reception for the press corp in Nesirky’s office Monday evening, Mr. Ban and his deputy chief of staff Kim Won-soo appeared, but not Mr. Nambiar.


Gordon Brown in NY by TV, UK Mission and Nambiar not shown

Footnotes: Talk at the reception turned to the Non Aligned Movement’s letter to Ban chastising him for announcing he will appoint a panel to advise himself about accountability for possible war crimes in Sri Lanka, a topic on which we hope to have more later today. [Update: Inner City Press asked Ban, click here.]

And perhaps on the UK request, too. Just after 11 a.m., with the Security Council still meeting about the stage leaks Somalia Sanctions report, the UK’s Lyall Grant left the Council, deep in conversation with an aide about “the letter.” Did the UK Mission to the UN not get the memo?

Finally, some note long standing reports that the UK is either dissatisfied with Mr. Nambiar’s performance or wants the chief of staff post it previously occupied via Mark Malloch Brown, or both. But, the reasoning goes, to move Nambiar out of the chef de cabinet post but keep him as (India’s) Under Secretary General, he would need the Myanmar envoy post. If it is being filled by another, how might this game of musical chairs end? Watch this site.

http://www.innercitypress.com/ukch1myan032410.html

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

March 25, 2010 at 3:43 pm

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

World focus on Burma (12-8-2009)

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Burma: Forced Labor by Oil Giant Total

Aung San Suu Kyi: “Release immediately and unconditionally”

Suu Kyi, American To Challenge Myanmar Verdict: Lawyers

Burmese Activist Receives New Term of House Arrest

Allies for Aung San Suu Kyi

Cambodia’s foreign ministry welcomes reduction in Suu Kyi sentence

Aung San Suu Kyi

Human Rights body condemns the conviction of Suu Kyi

Australia pleads freedom for Burma’s Suu Kyi

Unjust conviction of Aung San Suu Kyi and re-establishment of …

Thailand to consult with Asean on Aung San Suu Kyi’s trial

Myanmar’s Suu Kyi gets 18 months under house arrest

Obama condemns Suu Kyi conviction

Burma’s Sentencing of Aung San Suu Kyi Draws Worldwide Condemnation

The human face of Burma’s tragedy

Burmese junta’s continued persecution of Aung San Suu Kyi signals …

95bFM: The Wednesday Wire with Paul Deady

World focus on Burma (20 July 2009)

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‘The Philanthropist’ stays the course

Examiner.com – Monty Hamilton

… business in Myanmar (Burma [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myanmar]), a country the US has an embargo against because of their inhumane labor practices. …

ASEAN Summit Kicks Off

NTDTV – ‎

The commission was supposed to take into account the “special circumstances” of the 10 member countries, including military-ruled Burma. …

Asia will witness 21st century’s longest eclipse

The Associated Press – Michael Casey

One astrologer in Myanmar, also known as Burma, predicted in a magazine that the eclipse would trigger wars, instability and natural disasters for the next …

Laurel church still helping cyclone victims

Montana’s News Station – ‎‎

Thousands died when Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar on May 2, 2008. Burma’s government says 4000 died, with other estimates as high as 300000 deaths. …

Burmese FM: Ban’s Proposals Not Off the Table

The Irrawaddy News Magazine – Wai Moe – ‎

Ban called for the release of all political prisoners during his trip to Burma in early July. His request to see Suu Kyi was turned down by the military …

Rangoon Electricity Cut to Six Hours a Day

The Irrawaddy News Magazine – Aung Thet – ‎

The MEPE, a state-owned utility, is responsible for electrical generation, transmission and distribution of electricity in Burma. An official, who asked to …

NLD’s Win Tin Unwell

The Irrawaddy News Magazine – Yan Naing – ‎

Win Tin, who was a senior adviser to detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, was arrested in 1989 on a series of charges ranging from publishing …

ASEAN Foreign Ministers Discuss Regional Challenges, Burma’s Human …

Voice of America – Daniel Schearf

The trial of Aung San Suu Kyi, on charges of violating the terms of her detention, and Burma’s rights abuses are in focus as the ministers agreed on the …

100-foot wide tornado in Rangoon

Democratic Voice of Burma – ‎

“Roofs from about five different buildings were also pulled off by the wind, as well as those at the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise. …

UN’s quiet man defends velvet glove diplomacy

BBC News – Laura Trevelyan

Since January 2007 I have travelled with Mr Ban to 16 counties, from Sudan to Burma. Yet Mr Ban has been receiving mixed reviews at the halfway point of his …

Longest total eclipse of the century will plunge parts of Asia …

The Canadian Press – Nirmala GeorgeIndrajit Singh – ‎

One astrologer in Myanmar, also known as Burma, predicted in a magazine that the eclipse would trigger wars, instability and natural disasters for the next …

Southeast Asia approves rights body

Ninemsn – Danny Kemp – ‎

… side of ASEAN since it joined in 1997 because of its detention of more than 2000 political prisoners, including pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. …

Burma: EU to Impose New Sanctions

UNPO – ‎‎

The EU will impose new sanctions on the Burmese junta if Aung San Suu Kyi is not freed after her ongoing trial, says a senior British official. …

Mass opposition arrest on Martyrs’ Day

Democratic Voice of Burma – Thurein Soe – ‎

General Aung San was instrumental in setting in motion Burmese independence from British rule, although he was assassinated in July 1947, six months before

UN Chief Faces Criticism Halfway Through First Term

EasyBourse.com – ‎‎

“Too often, including in Sri Lanka and Burma (Myanmar), the secretary-general has held back from a truly principled stance, Levine said. …

Bangkok Post : Asean meeting kicks off in Phuket

Bangkok Post – ‎

Burma caused fresh headaches for Asean after the ruling junta put democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi on trial over an incident in which an American man swam to …

Thai PM opens Asean meeting in Phuket

Phuket Gazette – ‎‎

Mr Kasit earlier told journalists the ministers are expected to informally discuss the status of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi over the coming …

Noteable Quotes

The Namibian – ‎‎

Aung San Suu Kyi (born 1945) is Prime Minister-elect, a pro-democracy activist and leader of the National League for Democracy in Burma, …

Martyr’s Day in Burma observed in silence

Mizzima.com – ‎‎

by Mungpi New Delhi (mizzima) – Authorities on Sunday turned away several people, who had come to pay their respects to Burma’s Martyrs, including the …

Myanmar, Martyrs Day: an opportunity for the military junta for 50 …

AsiaNews.it – ‎‎

Yangon (AsiaNews / Agencies) – The 62nd “Martyrs Day” commemorating the heroes of Burmese independence was celebrated by the military junta with the arrests …

Critics slam new ASEAN rights body

Democratic Voice of Burma – Francis Wade – ‎

Notably, when Thailand in May criticised the trial of Aung San Suu KyiBurma’s credibility was “at stake”, Burma accused Thailand of … and warned that

We should be inspired by true heroes and not celebrities

Belfast Telegraph – Judith Cole

Head further east for another fine example of courage — the BurmeseAung San Suu Kyi (64), who has spent much of the last 20 years either … opposition leader

Southeast Asia to approve human rights body

Philippine Star – ‎‎

“Members of the body should be able to consider human rights in places such as Burma (Myanmar) and Cambodia or southern Thailand, or what’s the point? …

Foreign ministers set to endorse Asia’s first human rights body

France24 – ‎

According to a draft seen by AFP, the rights body will lack powers to punish violators such as military-ruled Myanmar, and can at best require its 10 member …

UN chief gets a raw deal?

Straits Times – ‎

Mr Ban lamented the fact that his hosts refused to let him see democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi and ignored his call for the release of political prisoners, …

Good Day: July 20, 2009

The San Francisco Examiner – ‎‎

[6 to 8 pm, Main Street and Broadway, Redwood City] Capturing an uprising: “Burma VJ” offers an inside look at the 2007 uprising in Myanmar through the …

Foreign ministers set to endorse Asia’s first human rights body

France24 – ‎

On Sunday, Myanmar authorities arrested around 20 members of Aung San Suu Kyi’s party after they had marked the anniversary of her father’s death in 1947. …

Abhisit rejects possible Burma sanctions

Bangkok Post – ‎

The forum will discuss Burma after the junta barred United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon from meeting jailed opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi …

Myanmar detains dozens of opposition members

英文中國郵報 – ‎

Myanmar, also known as Burma, has been under military rule since 1962. Suu Kyi has been under detention for 14 of the past 20 years. …

Myanmar detains Suu Kyi’s party members

Channel News Asia – ‎‎

YANGON – Myanmar authorities detained around 20 members of imprisoned Aung San Suu Kyi’s opposition party Sunday as they headed back from events to mark her …

Opposition members arrested in Myanmar

CNN International -‎

(CNN) — About 20 members of Myanmar’s opposition were arrested Sunday while observing Martyrs’ Day, a party spokesman said. The opposition members were …

ASEAN pushing peace treaty with US

Minda News – Allen V Estabillo

ASEAN is composed of Burma, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The treaty was amended in 1987 by a …

U2 return to Berlin for concert

Ninemsn –

… had a political edge, with a rendition of Happy Birthday for Nelson Mandela and a song dedicated to detained Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. …

U2’s ‘360-Degree’ Stadium Show Dwarfs Even Bono’s Ego: Review

Bloomberg – Douglas Lytle – ‎

… a dedication to jailed Burmese politician Aung San Suu Kyi, complete with members of the audience parading on stage wearing masks of Suu Kyi’s face as …

MediaWATCH: Can the Phuket Summit Deliver?

Phuketwan – ‎‎

The Task Force on Asean and Burma (TFAB), a coalition of 69 civil-society groups working on democratisation in Burma, said an effective and credible Asean …

Arrests at services for Suu Kyi’s father

Scotsman –

DOZENS of opposition party members were arrested in Burma yesterday as they left ceremonies marking the anniversary of the death of the father of jailed …

Martyr’s Day marchers detained

Gulf Times –

Myanmar’s ruling junta yesterdaybriefly detained 21 pro-democracy activists who were marching to commemorate Martyr’s Day, which honours among others the …

Daughter of drug agent seized, raped

Inquirer.net – Nikko Dizon – ‎

It said that while many countries manufactured shabu, China, Burma (Myanmar) and the Philippines accounted for most of the production. …

‘Push Burma on rights violations’

Business Mirror –

… help improve the lingering rights atrocities in Burma, particularly the continued detention of prodemocracy and Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. …

Myanmar junta braces for pressure

Manila Times – ‎

PHUKET, Thailand: Military-ruled Myanmar is set to face renewed pressure over its trial of Aung San Suu Kyi when foreign ministers and diplomats from Asia, …

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Written by Lwin Aung Soe

July 20, 2009 at 2:02 pm

At UN on Myanmar, Ban Is Asked to Not “Mislead” the Council as Groups Says Gambari Did

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At UN on Myanmar, Ban Is Asked to Not “Mislead” the Council as Groups Says Gambari Did

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, July 13, update — Ten days after his fruitless visit to Myanmar, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon returned to the UN in New York to brief the Security Council and then take limited questions from the press. Beyond his failure to meet with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, questions that have arisen since the trip include reports that even the former armed groups Mr. Ban met with were told what to say by the regime of General Than Shwe, and that he listened to opposition groups only two minutes each.

Of the former issue, Ban’s spokesperson Michele Montas told Inner City Press last week that Ban “would be become aware of it.” On the latter, Ms. Montas said she didn’t know how long each opposition group got with her boss. Presumably he does.

Given the format, with Ban briefing at 11:30 and taking press questions at the Security Council stakeout at 12:30, it seems unlikely that the Security Council members will have a substantive debate of how to proceed on Myanmar.

The show trial of Aung San Suu Kyi, suspended the day Ban was in the country, has resumed, and she faced five more years in detention. The government proceeds toward a 2010 election in which the military is guaranteed at least one quarter of the seats, and those like Suu Kyi who married foreigners are deemed ineligible to run.

Hours before Ban’s briefing, All Burma Monk’s Alliance (ABMA), the 88 Generation Students, and All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU) submitted a letter to him — copy here.


In Myanmar, rule of law or rule of the gun?

The letter states that

“it would be wrong for you to mislead the international community by saying that the military regime will consider your proposals seriously. The previous inaccurate and misguided reporting by your Special Envoy after his failed visits have already caused the international community to wait and see without taking action, while the people of Burma, including ethnic minorities, have been suffering crimes against humanity continuously. We urge you to recognize the ineffectiveness of the current diplomatic approach without the strong backing from the UN Security Council with a binding resolution to deal with Burma’s military regime.”

What will Ban say about these issues? Watch this space.

Update of 11:34 a.m. — Ban advisers Nambiar, Pascoe and Kim have gone in. Most of the assembly press are asking not about Myanmar but about the North Korea sanctions committee, meeting in the basement. A diplomat tells Inner City Press the format: Ban and then the Myanmar Ambassador, then members of the Council. “No output expected.” At 11:34 a.m., Ban and Gambari rush in.

Update of 11:57 a.m. — After Ban Ki-moon recited Than Shwe’s pledge to make the 2010 elections “free and fair,” Myanmar’s Ambassador topped him with this whopper, that the election will be “credible.”

Update of 12:32 p.m. — For the U.S., rather than Permanent Representative Susan Rice, Rosemary DiCarlo was the speaker. She called on the “Burmese generals” to make good on their statement that cooperation with the UN is a “cornerstone of the foreign policy of Myanmar.”

Update: after the Council meeting, Inner City Press managed to ask Ban Ki-moon two questions about Myanmar – click here.

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At UN, Ban’s Two Minute Myanmar Drill May Lead to Grill Monday Between Trips

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, July 10, updated — As the closed door show trial of Aung San Suu Kyi resumed on July 10, the UN’s pass the buck approach to Myanmar continued. In the wake of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s ill-fated, some say humiliating meetings with dictator Than Shwe, it was Ban’s envoy Ibrahim Gambari who briefed the Group of Friends on Myanmar on July 8, rather than Ban.

Security Council members told Inner City Press that Ban himself would brief the Council. A Council staffer told Inner City Press that it would take place in an open meeting on Monday, July 13.

But when Inner City Press asked Ban’s political advisor Lynn Pascoe on July 9, he said, “it’s up to the Council.” And when Inner City Press asked the head of the Turkish Mission to the UN, he said, it’s up to the Secretary General.

On July 10, diplomats told Ban has been requested to formally brief the Council, but since Monday will be his only day in headquarters before heading out again, to the meeting of the Non Aligned Movement in Egypt, Myanmar may be related to one of many topics at the Council’s closed door luncheon with Ban.

In terms of what Ban should expect be asked or grilled about, consider this account of Ban’s meetings with the opposition, a mere two minutes each:

The regime invited the National League for Democracy to send five CEC members to Nay Pyi Taw to meet with Ban Ki-moon. U Aung Shwe replied with a list of five, including U Win Tin. The regime replied that they would not allow U Win Tin to meet Ban. Then, Police Special Branch picked up the four CEC members on the July 2nd, brought them to Nay Pyi Taw.

On the afternoon of July 3rd, representatives from all ten registered parties, including NLD, were allowed to meet with Ban for an hour. Ban made an opening speech.

In his speech, Ban said that the government is carrying out a seven-step roadmap, and is now at the fifth step, which is to hold the election. He said that the government promised him that they will conduct the election free and fair. He also said that he and UN also will try to make the election free and fair.

Then all parties were allowed to present their stance for two minutes each.


UN’s Ban arrives in Yangon, two minutes per group, airport to airport

U Khin Maung Gyi from National Unity Party said that his party wants the regime to hold the election in 2010 and he does not want any postponement. He asked Ban to make this happens. Then U Nyunt Wai (NLD) stood and said that NLD would not accept the two minutes limit and it would not be possible to present important political matters in two minutes. Then he sat down. Ban was shocked. Then other parties presented their position in two allotted minutes. The NLD “Uncles” didn’t say anything.

After the meeting, Ban’s assistant approached the Uncles and invited them to follow with him to Ban’s bedroom. Only then, Uncles were allowed to meet with Ban alone in his bedroom for 10 minutes.

The Uncles told him four points that (a) Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners should be released, (b) meaningful political dialogue between the regime and democratic opposition should be realized, (c) the 1990 election result should be recognized by some ways, and (d) the 2008 Constitution should be revised to be satisfactory of all parties concerned. Ban asked more details for these positions and they explained.

The Uncles believe that Ban was not well informed or reported to by his Special Adviser and staff. He didn’t realize the magnitude of the problems.

So will Ban be asked about this by Council members on July 13? As happened during Team Ban’s hand selection of which reporters could cover Ban’s trip, will questions to Ban on this be allowed at his promised “monthly” press conference?

Update of 12:09 p.m. — at the UN’s noon briefing just now, Ban’s spokesperson announced Ban will brief the Council on Monday at 10 a.m., and then will go to the Council stakeout around 11. This apparently will constitute Ban’s monthly “press conference.” Will he answer the above?

Update of 2 p.m. — later in the noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Ban’s spokesperson Michele Montas to confirm or deny that two minutes was given to each opposition group. Ms. Montas said she didn’t know how much time was given, but that Ban addressed the elections in his speech while in Myanmar. But what Iabout the constitution? nner City Press asked again about reports that one or more of the former armed groups that Ban met with was told by the government what to say. Ms. Montas had said that Ban would be become aware of this, and presumably would comment. On July 10, Montas made was appeared to be her own answer: that Ban could only ask to meet groups, not that they be free in what they could say to him. Watch this site.

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As Group of Friends on Myanmar Meets at the UN, UK Perm Rep Sawers Doesn’t Friend Them Despite UK Push for Trip

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, July 8 — In the run up to the trip to Myanmar by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his envoy Ibrahim Gambari, Prime Minister Gordon Brown told the House of Commons that the UK had urged Ban to go to Burma. The trip took place; General Than Shwe rejected Ban’s request to meet with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi; nearly everyone called the endeavor a failure.

With Ban still out of New York, at the G-8 meetings in Italy, Gambari descended to the UN basement on July 8 to brief the 14 countries on Ban’s Group of Friends on Myanmar. Notably, UK Permanent Representative John Sawers was not present, unlike his counterparts from Japan, Indonesia and Singapore, among others. Some some suspected Facebook fallout — and joked of Sawers not “friending” the Group —  others questioned the UK being so loud before the trip, and so quiet afterwards, at least in public.

Gambari, normally affable, rushed into the meeting room. UN staff have confirmed to Inner City Press that Than Shwe in a fit of pique made Gambari travel to the country’s jungle capital by road, rather than by air. Reportedly, surrounded by the Ban-selected scribes on this most recent trip, Gambari wished for the presence of other reporters, to witness the indignities and discomforts that he has been going through.

There was also the report — an exclusive by Inner City Press — that Gambari’s name was offered by Ban as a possible replacement for Rodolphe Adada in Darfur, but that some Western powers rejected it. A subsequent candidate Said Djinnit earlier on June 8 thanked Inner City Press for not asking publicly about the Darfur post, at least not during his press conference on West Africa (Inner City Press’ report on West Africa is forthcoming.)


UK’s Sawers and His Minister with Gambari in previous Friending

Indonesia’s Ambassador strode in jaunty as ever; Japan’s Takasu with a staffer. China’s also jaunty Deputy had Xinjiang on his mind, saying that despite Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s statement that Turkey will put Xinjiang on the Security Council’s agenda (see Inner City Press story here), the Turkish Mission to the UN has received no instructions to this effect. Other Ambassador’s marveled at the recent and dirty campaign to re-nominate Mr. Supachai as secretary general of UNCTAD.

Diplomat’s minds seemed everywhere except on Myanmar. But since the UK asked for the trip, some felt Sawers should have been present. He spoke of the issue earlier in the day, but only to select reporters, and only off the record. Whether this approach is the best for Burma is in question. Watch this space.

Update of 4:07 p.m. — to be fair, Sawers’ affable deputy was present. Whether he will speak on the record after the meeting, given the UK’s role, remains to be seen.

Update of 4:31 p.m. — while the Friends on Myanmar continue meeting, the head of a Security Council mission spoke to Inner City Press about the Turkish Prime Minister – China imbloglio: “that’s why we have a free Press,” he said….  But on Myanmar, there are no other reporters outside the Friends’ basement meeting.

Update of 5:15 p.m. — And when the meeting broke up, like clock work at precisely five o’clock, Gambari declines to speak with the Press, saying to wait for Ban to return to New York. Inner City Press said, or asked, “Ban will speak to the Security Council?” “Or to this group,” Gambari answered. That would be to further downgrade the Myanmar issue.

* * *

At UN, July 8 Briefing on Ban’s Burmese Failure by Gambari, Japan Says “Too Early”

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, July 7, updated — While by nearly any measure UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s two day visit to Myanmar was a diplomatic failure, on July 6 when Inner City Press asked Japan’s Ambassador to the UN Yukio Takasu to assess the trip, he said it was “too early” for that, that when Ban returns from Europe they will get a full briefing and address the issue. Video here, from Minute 6:43.

But the so-called Group of Friends on Myanmar, Inner City Press has learned, will be briefed on July 8 by Ban’s envoy to Myanmar, Ibrahim Gambari.

Some view this as distancing Ban from the lack of accomplishments on the trip, which they view as having provided some legitimacy to the regime of General Than Shwe. Gambari, recently offered up to replace Rodolphe Adada for the UN in Darfur, has been to Myanmar eight times and has little to show for it.

Gambari’s supporters blame the “Western powers” for not giving him any carrots with which to tempt the generals. But perhaps the Myanmar regime, like Sri Lanka’s, doesn’t need the West’s carrots.


UN’s Ban and Gambari, the latter will go first while the former goes G-8

China and India are competing for Myanmar’s natural gas — along with French and other Western companies. North Korea is helping militarily, at least with advice on building underground weapons plants.

Japan’s position remains ambiguous. While following the Burmese military’s murder of a Japanese cameraman during the abortive Saffron Revolution Japan spoke out about Myanmar, Japan was notably less concerned with the human rights of civilians during this year’s assault on Northern Sri Lanka by the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime. Amb. Takasu says he’s waiting to hear from Ban, but Japan will be represented at the July 8 briefing by Ban’s envoy Gambari. Watch this site.

Post-script: it’s been reported that the “former armed groups” with which Ban met were told by the Than Shwe regime what to say. This will be inquired into.

Update of 12:23 p.m. — Inner City Press asked Ban’s Spokesperson Michele Montas about this at Tuesday’s UN noon briefing. Ms. Montas said that Ban had thought the groups were free to speak, that he is not yet aware of reports to the contrary but he will be. For convenience sake, check this, and watch this site.

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UN’s Ban Claims Burma’s Than Shwe Is Ready to Give Up Power, No Pool Despite Internet, LA Times Softball Q&A

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, July 4 — Immediately following Burmese dictator Than Shwe’s rebuff of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon even visiting opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Ban told the reporters he hand picked to accompany him that Than Shwe had in fact shown that he is willing to “hand over all power.”

Ban is quoted that Than Shwe “was saying that after (an election) he will hand over power to civilians. He said when I come back he may be a civilian…That means he’s committed to hand over all power.”

First, there is no indication that Than Shwe and his cronies have any intention of handing over power. Second, even the quote, which was run without any critique or analysis, can be read that power may go a a civilian, Than Shwe is ready to present himself as a civilian and keep power.

After Team Ban hand picked the reporters allowed to cover the trip, Ban’s Spokesperson Michele Montas claimed it the selection was based on “those willing to pool” coverage. But on July 2, she told Inner City Press there would be no text pool coverage. When Inner City Press asked how to get questions answered, she said just read the wires, since communications would be difficult while the Team was there. From the UN’s transcript:

Inner City Press: During these two days that he is there, if we’re trying to cover it from here, have questions, who do we seek to get some answers?

Spokesperson Montas: It’s going to be extremely difficult. The materials that your colleagues are sending will give you information, but there is no way you can reach, it’s going to be very difficult to reach people in Myanmar when they are there because of communications problems.

But now it’s clear that the Team was allowed to use the Internet while there: “We also had access to the Internet to file stories and send emails about Ban’s second trip to the new capital.”


UN’s Ban and Than Shwe: who’s ready to hand over all power?

So why wasn’t the promised pool coverage provided? Increasingly it appears that Team Ban, faced with negative reviews, tries to control coverage. The UN News Service dutifully pushed out a story which didn’t even mention any of the criticism of Ban and his Myanmar trip.

In the run up to negative profiles in two major U.S. dailies, as Inner City Press first reported, Team Ban brought in the Los Angeles Times for a Q&A with strangely staged questions about the “Asian style” of diplomacy.

But as one scribe put it, “Ban has faced recent criticism for his softly-softly approach to the job of secretary general, but diplomats say he had hoped his quiet brand of diplomacy would work with Myanmar’s generals.” And it failed, even by Team Ban’s own pre-trip measure. Watch this site.

Footnote: as Inner City Press reported June 28 and was confirmed by Ban’s Spokesperson Michele Montas on June 29, Ban’s office hand-picked which journalists would be told of the opportunity to cover his trip to Burma. Ms. Montas first said that the UN “picked people who were willing to pool for others.” On July 2, when Inner City Press asked Ms. Montas when these pool reports would begin, she reversed course and argued that “I said some of them were willing to pool, some of them… There is no print pooling, no.”

Inner City Press asked Ms. Montas to confirm the information in a list it has seen, that there are at least 22 UN personnel in Ban’s traveling party, ranging from political chief Lynn Pascoe and deputy chief of staff Kim Won-soo to Hak-Fan Lau, to whom reporters on Ban’s previous UN mission to Burma gave at least some pooled material. “I can check for you,” Ms. Montas answered. By 4 p.m. on July 4 in New York, no information was provided. Watch this site.

http://www.innercitypress.com/bangam3myanmar071309.html

More:

New York, 13 July 2009 – Secretary-General’s briefing to the Security Council on Myanmar

Mr. President,

Thank you for this opportunity to brief the members of the Security Council, at their request, on my visit to Myanmar from 3 to 4 July 2009 at the invitation of the Government of Myanmar.

I wish to thank all interested Member States in this Council and in the Group of Friends on Myanmar for supporting my decision to visit Myanmar at this time and also for supporting my efforts in the context of my good offices. Whereas the objective of my first visit last year was to unblock the humanitarian situation caused by Cyclone Nargis, my objective this time was to engage Myanmar’s senior leadership directly on a number of serious and longstanding concerns which I believe cannot be left unaddressed at this critical stage of Myanmar’s transition. At a time when there is much attention on the ongoing trial of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and on the eve of Myanmar’s first elections in twenty years, it was necessary for me to raise those concerns and extend the help of the United Nations in advancing national reconciliation, democracy, respect for human rights and sustainable development.

At the outset, let me say that the refusal of the senior leadership to allow me to meet with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was not only a deep disappointment, but also a major lost opportunity for Myanmar. While this should not define our efforts, allowing such a meeting would have sent a constructive and conciliatory signal, both inside and outside Myanmar. However, the United Nations’ engagement with Myanmar is broad and complex as it encompasses a range of fundamental issues of concern for the future of the country, which I was able to address during this visit.

In my two meetings with Senior General Than Shwe, and an additional meeting with the Prime Minister General Thein Sein, I discussed extensively the need for Myanmar to take meaningful steps on the five-point agenda developed in the context of my good offices, as well as in the humanitarian area. I made specific proposals with a particular focus on three outstanding concerns which, if left unaddressed, could undermine any confidence in Myanmar’s political process: (i) the release of all political prisoners, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi; (ii) the resumption of a substantive dialogue between the Government and the Opposition; and (iii) the creation of conditions conducive to credible and legitimate elections. From experience, the United Nations has learned that elections can be unifying or divisive, depending on the level of buy-in and the quality of the process. Addressing these three concerns, including with the support of the United Nations, is therefore essential to ensure that the political process is all inclusive and serves the interest of all the people of Myanmar in a way that can be broadly accepted by the international community. Meeting with Myanmar’s registered political parties and ethnic ceasefire groups allowed me to listen to their views and concerns in this regard, which I also shared with the authorities. However, I also encouraged the two groups to remain constructive in the political process. Any successful transition will require overcoming the country’s twin legacy of political deadlock and civil conflict. It is in the interest of all to ensure that any gains made so far become irreversible. While the Government has a primary obligation to address the concerns of all stakeholders, every stakeholder has a role to play and a responsibility to assume in the interest of the nation.

On the humanitarian front, I saw for myself the progress made one year later in the recovery and reconstruction of the cyclone-affected region, thanks to the unprecedented cooperation between Myanmar, the United Nations and ASEAN [Association of South East Asia]. In all my meetings, I stressed the need to consolidate and build on such efforts to ensure that assistance in the Delta is expedited and that humanitarian access is expanded to reach all vulnerable groups across the country. Just like the international community cannot hold humanitarian assistance hostage to political considerations, there is no justification for the Government to allow humanitarian access to some of its people, but not to others.

Furthermore, my visit was also the occasion to address Myanmar’s development challenge. Here too, we know from experience that peace and security can be affected by underlying socio-economic conditions. Accordingly, I proposed to the senior leadership to enhance cooperation with the United Nations to address the pressing development needs facing the country through a broad-based process involving all sectors of society. Empowering the people to participate in their country’s development is equally important for stability, democracy and prosperity, and for ensuring that Myanmar fully benefits from and contributes to the regional and global economy.

Mr. President,

My visit offered the clearest signal of the United Nations’ commitment to work with the Government and people of Myanmar to address issues that are of fundamental importance for the prospects of durable peace, democracy and development. While I stand ready to work to that end with all concerned, Myanmar stands to gain much from engaging meaningfully with the United Nations. To be able to convey this message clearly and directly at the highest level of Myanmar’s leadership is a rare chance for the international community to be heard.

Here, as has been observed, what is more important is not so much what I came back with, but what I left behind with the authorities. I have made clear my expectation and that of the international community that the Government needs to deliver on the promise to make the 2010 elections inclusive, free and fair and to take necessary steps on my specific proposals in the very near future. In this connection, Senior General Than Shwe’s has pledged to make the elections free and fair. But I said then, and reiterate today, that it is up to the Myanmar authorities to translate this into concrete action, to ensure the inclusiveness and credibility of the process and to demonstrate concretely Myanmar’s commitment to cooperate with the international community. Like all Member States, the more Myanmar works in partnership with the United Nations, the more it affirms its sovereignty.

Mr. President,

Before leaving Myanmar, I had the chance to publicly reiterate all my messages in a keynote speech to a large and diverse audience in Yangon. This was an unprecedented opportunity to ask openly the question that is before Myanmar’s stakeholders today: How much longer can Myanmar afford to wait – and at what cost – for national reconciliation, democratic transition and full respect for human rights? My message – addressed to the international community as much as to the Government and people of Myanmar – was twofold: First, while Myanmar has a unique and complex history, the challenges it faces as a country in transition are neither exceptional nor insurmountable. Second, none of the challenges facing Myanmar today – political, humanitarian, development – can be addressed on its own, and failure to address them with equal attention could undermine the prospects for durable peace, democracy and prosperity.

This address was also an opportunity to stress my commitment to continued engagement, and that of the importance for the international community as a whole, I clearly stated that Myanmar was not alone. In Myanmar as elsewhere, the United Nations works for the people – their rights, their well-being and their dignity. It is not an option, it is our responsibility. We cannot give up.

Your continued support to my good offices efforts and your encouragement – particularly that of neighbouring and ASEAN countries – to the Myanmar authorities have therefore become even more important and necessary. I welcome the continued support given to my efforts by the G8 leaders last week and their statement that they are “prepared to respond positively to substantive political progress undertaken by Myanmar.” I also welcome the reiterated strong support extended to my good offices and personal engagement by the Group of Friends on Myanmar.

Now that I have conveyed in the clearest terms what is expected of Myanmar’s leaders, it is up to them to respond positively in their country’s own interest. As I mentioned in my speech, ultimately it is the people of Myanmar who will bear the cost of any lack of engagement and cooperation by their Government with the UN and the international community. That is why Myanmar’s leaders have a responsibility, not only towards their own people, but also towards you as members of the international community, to respond to the proposals I made on your behalf. The choice for Myanmar’s leaders in the coming days and weeks will be between meeting that responsibility in the interest of all concerned, or failing their own people and each one of you. The world is now watching closely whether they will choose to act in the best interest of their country or ignore our concerns and expectations and the needs of their people.

Thank you Mr. President.

13 July 2009 – Secretary-General addresses the press following Security Council briefing on Myanmar

I have just finished briefing the Security Council, at their request, on my recent visit to Myanmar, including on the wide range of issues I discussed with the Myanmar leadership and other stakeholders.

From the outset, I stated that it would be a difficult mission. However, the visit provided a unique opportunity to engage directly and frankly with Senior General Than Shwe and the Myanmar leadership on the broad range of challenges facing the country. I made specific proposals on various outstanding concerns which, if left unaddressed, could undermine any confidence in Myanmar’s political process. These include firstly, the release of all political prisoners, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi; secondly, the resumption of a substantive dialogue between the Government and the Opposition; and thirdly, the creation of conditions conducive to credible, inclusive and legitimate elections. The visit also enabled me to engage directly with registered political parties and ethnic ceasefire groups, and hear their concerns.

In this regard, I would like to take note of the statement just made by the Permanent Representative of Myanmar saying that, I quote, “at the request of the Secretary-General in Myanmar, the Myanmar Government is processing to grant amnesty to prisoners on humanitarian grounds and with a view to enabling them to participate in the 2010 general elections.” This is encouraging but I have to continue to follow up how they will implement all the issues raised during my visit to Myanmar.

As you know I also visited the Delta region, where I witnessed our joint recovery and reconstruction efforts. Regrettably, I could not meet with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. It was not only a deep disappointment but also a missed opportunity for Myanmar. I was however able to meet separately with the leaders of her party, the NLD (National League for Democracy).

Now that I have conveyed in the clearest terms what is expected of Myanmar’s leaders, it is up to them to respond positively in their country’s own interest. The world is now watching closely whether they will choose to act in the best interest of their country or not.

I would also like to take this opportunity to let you know that I will be traveling to Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, later today, so that I can meet with the leaders gathered for the Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement there on Wednesday. I will deliver an address to the Summit, and I will encourage the Non-Aligned Movement to build on its leadership role among nations to address today’s challenges. Those challenges include disarmament, the economic crisis, climate change,and the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals.

Thank you.

Question: Mr. Secretary-General, you said that [Senior General] Than Shwe has committed to make the elections free and fair. But the constitution that was passed right after the cyclone says that a quarter of the seats have to go to people with military backgrounds, and that Aung San Suu Kyi couldn’t run because she married a foreigner. Under those conditions, how can you believe that the elections are going to be free, fair or credible?

Secretary-General: I urged Senior General Than Shwe that this election should be fair and free, but also legitimate, inclusive and credible. To be credible and legitimate, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners should be released. I emphasized that, without participation of Aung San Suu Kyi, without her being able to campaign freely, and without her NLD party [being able] to establish party offices all throughout the provinces, this election may not be regarded as credible and legitimate.

Q: Should she be a candidate?

SG: That is what I am going to continue to follow up. You have heard the Permanent Representative of Myanmar saying that his Government is now taking some procedures to allow some amnesty. But I’m not quite sure who will be included in this amnesty. But I have made it quite clear that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in particular should be released and free to participate in the election.

Thank you very much.

G8 Political Issues

Myanmar
We welcome the recent visit to Myanmar of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. We underline our long-standing support for his Good Offices Mission and strongly welcome the leadership he has shown on this issue, conveying the messages of the international community. We share the Secretary General’s view that the Government of Myanmar did not take this important opportunity to respond fully to the concerns of the international community, and will closely consult on our collective and individual response. A fully inclusive process of dialogue and national reconciliation is urgently needed, leading to transparent fair and democratic multiparty elections. We reiterate our call on the Government of Myanmar to release all political prisoners, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, whose continued detention would undermine the credibility of elections planned for 2010. We continue to support UN Secretary General’s active engagement with Myanmar and remain prepared to respond positively to substantive political progress undertaken by Myanmar.

Source: http://www.yeyintnge.com/2009/07/g8.html

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

July 18, 2009 at 4:39 pm