13 November 2007
Security Council
SC/9168

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

5777th Meeting (PM)


SECURITY COUNCIL TOLD OF ‘POSITIVE’ OUTCOMES OF VISIT TO MYANMAR BY SPECIAL


ADVISER, WITH CONTINUING CONCERNS OVER HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION


Ibrahim Gambari Reports on Mission; Says Role of United Nations

Good Offices Needs Patience, Persistence, Comprehensive Approach


Despite voicing continuing concerns over human rights in Myanmar, Ibrahim Gambari, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser, said that the positive outcomes of his recent mission to the country showed that the Government could be responsive to the concerns of the international community, as he briefed the Security Council this afternoon.


A process was now in motion, he said, that would hopefully lead to dialogue between the Government and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the main opposition party who had long been under house arrest.  Such dialogue would require flexibility on all sides and the sustained engagement of the international community, which also needed to hear the concerns of all sides.


Although it had not been possible to meet with Senior General Than Shwe during his visit, Mr. Gambari said, he had met with the new Prime Minister, General Thein Sein, and all the relevant members of Government, including the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Information, Culture and Labour.  He had also met with civil society groups and opposition parties, as well as the United Nations country team and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.


Besides having released many detainees and having withdrawn the visible military presence in the cities, the Government had, since his last visit, also set up meetings with Aung San Suu Kyi and appointed a constitutional drafting committee.  It had agreed to receive the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights in the country, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, after four years of his being denied access, as well as a delegation from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).


At the same time, however, there were ongoing reports of human rights abuses and the unwillingness of the Government to move forward in a new direction.  He was pleased to have had frank discussions on those issues, but the Government had yet to ensure it would lift restrictions on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and a date had yet to be announced for commencement of inter-party dialogue, though initial stage of discussions had begun.  Finally, the Government had yet to propose a time frame for the next steps on the political road map.


He reconfirmed that the good offices were a process that required time, patience, persistence and a comprehensive approach.  He said that all those who could help, both inside and outside Myanmar, needed to be encouraged to contribute to a solution to Myanmar’s challenges.


He also reiterated the Secretary-General’s position that no country could afford to stay outside the irreversible trend towards stability, prosperity and democracy, and that the Government of Myanmar must listen to its people and respect their rights.


In the discussion that followed Mr. Gambari’s briefing, speakers welcomed the progress achieved by the Secretary-General’s good offices, but stressed that the Myanmar Government’s response fell short of international expectations.  Most called on the Government to quickly release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and remaining detainees, also urging more progress towards democracy and full cooperation with the human rights Rapporteur.


Many speakers also called for international solidarity on the issue, and while many stressed the importance of a united voice of the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the European Union, some countries warned against the wrong kind of international pressure.  The representative of the Russian Federation said threats, pressure and sanctions from outside the country would be counterproductive and hinder efforts for national reconciliation.


Myanmar’s representative said peace and stability had been restored and life had returned to normal all over the country.  Almost all those detained in connection with the September unrest had been released.  However, some had been found to have been involved in a conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism.


He said a 54-member committee had been established to draft a new Constitution and a Minister had been appointed to liaise with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who had stated that the Government was serious and really willing to work for national reconciliation.


He said it was disappointing that, notwithstanding the positive developments, some continued to express scepticism.  The challenges facing Myanmar were complex and delicate, and encouragement was needed, not undue outside pressure.  The good offices mandated by the Assembly should be allowed to be a catalytic role in facilitating the national reconciliation process.


Also speaking this afternoon were the representatives of the United Kingdom, Slovakia, South Africa, United States, Belgium, China, France, Italy, Panama, Peru, Congo, Ghana, Qatar, Indonesia, Singapore and Japan.


The meeting began at 3:10 p.m. and ended at 5 p.m.


Background


The Secretary-General’s Special Adviser, Ibrahim Gambari, was expected to brief the Security Council this afternoon on his most recent visit to Myanmar, which took place from 3 to 8 November.  Before visiting Myanmar, Mr. Gambari went to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, China and Japan.


Briefing by Special Adviser


IBRAHIM GAMBARI, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser, thanked the Government of Myanmar for hosting his visit from 3 to 8 November to facilitate the implementation of immediate and medium to long-term recommendations made during his last visit to address serious concerns arising from the crisis.  Although it had not been possible to meet with Senior General Than Shwe, he had met with the new Prime Minister, General Thein Sein, plus all the relevant members of Government, including the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Information, Culture and Labour.  He had also met with civil society groups and opposition parties, as well as the United Nations country team and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.


Recalling the initial positive steps taken by the Government since his last visit, he said the Government had lifted the curfews put in place during the demonstrations, withdrawn visible military presence from the streets and, by its own account, released 2,700 persons detained in the course of the crisis.  It had also set up meetings with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, appointed a constitutional drafting committee and agreed to receive the United Nations Special Rapporteur, after four years of his being denied access, as well as a delegation from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).


At the same time, however, serious concerns remained about ongoing reports of human rights abuses and the willingness of the Government to move forward in a new direction.  He was pleased to have had frank discussions on those issues, but the Government had yet to ensure it would lift restrictions on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and a date had yet to be announced for commencement of inter-party dialogue, though the initial stage of discussions had begun.  Finally, the Government had yet to propose a time frame for the next steps on the political road map.


Positive outcomes from his visit, he said, included a public statement by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, followed by meetings with members of her party and the Minister for Relations, Aung Kyi.  The Prime Minister had reiterated his full confidence in the Secretary-General’s good offices, assuring him that more detainees would be released and that no more arrests would be carried out, and that the Government would consider the possibility of establishing a broad-based poverty alleviation commission.  An agreement had also been reached on an interim arrangement for the United Nations country team, which would be led following 5 December by an Acting Resident Coordinator, because of the Government’s disapproval of the current Coordinator.


He said the Government had continued to assure him that the demonstrations had been instigated by a minority element and had been limited in geographical spread, and that the Government’s road map enjoyed the support of the majority of people.  Further steps on the road map would provide opposition groups with the opportunity to express their views, they maintained.  The country expected the international community to recognize its cooperation with the United Nations, and not adopt punitive measures through the Security Council.


He said his visit to Myanmar had been preceded by a new round of consultations in key regional capitals from 15 to 27 November, ahead of the upcoming summits of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the East Asia group.  All the countries he had visited expressed strong support for the role of the Secretary-General’s good offices.  While they also considered sanctions counter-productive, they accepted that the international community should mobilize to help address Myanmar’s humanitarian and socio-economic problems, commensurate with actual progress in the areas of concern to the international community.


On balance, he said the positive outcomes of his latest mission showed that the Government of Myanmar could be responsive to the concerns of the international community.  Based on specific recommendations made through the Secretary-General’s good offices, a process was now in motion that would hopefully lead to a substantive dialogue with concrete outcomes within an agreed time frame between the Government and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.  Such dialogue would require flexibility on all sides and sustained engagement of the good offices, with the support of the international community, which also needed to hear the concerns of all sides.


In closing, he reconfirmed that the good offices were a process that required time, patience, persistence and a comprehensive approach to yield tangible results.  He said that all those who could help, both inside and outside Myanmar, needed to be encouraged to contribute to a solution to Myanmar’s challenges.  He also reiterated the Secretary-General’s position that no country could afford to stay outside the irreversible trend towards stability, prosperity and democracy, and that the Government must listen to its people and respect their rights.  The United Nations was fully committed to work with the Government and people of Myanmar to build on the current positive momentum towards those goals, as well as national reconciliation.


Statements


JOHN SAWERS ( United Kingdom) said Mr. Gambari’s latest visit to Burma had not been easy, as he had been unable to choose whom to see and denied access to the Senior General.  That approach by the Burmese authorities had not been in line with the expectation of the Council.  There was also concern about the expulsion of the head of the United Nations country team.  The biggest step forward was the meeting with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who had stated that she wanted to pursue the path of dialogue constructively.   Now it was the turn of the regime, which must remove the restraints on her movements and on her access to her party, and allow other oppositions leaders and ethnic minority leaders to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi freely and without impediment.  The dialogue should be time bound, not least to allow for measurable results.


While welcoming Special Rapporteur Paulo Sergio Pinheiro’s current visit, he said he was concerned about the fate of those who had participated in peaceful demonstrations and about the ongoing arrests and the issue of long sentences.  A human rights leader had recently be arrested.  Mr. Pinheiro should be allowed to address fully all those concerns.  Mr. Gambari should be allowed to pay repeat visits on an unrestricted basis to Burma.  It was important that he had freedom of movement and could visit not only those he had visited last time, but also other representatives of civil society.  He said moves by the Burmese authorities to control Mr. Gambari’s activities would raise questions about their sincerity in engaging with the good offices mission.  The solution to Burma’s problems would remain one for all Burma’s people to find.  The international community should continue to pressure and persuade the regime to make progress.  The small steps forward described by Mr. Gambari could be the beginning of a process that achieved peace, prosperity and stability.  It could, however, also be a false dawn.


PETER BURIAN ( Slovakia) said his country strongly supported Mr. Gambari’s activities.  His observation about certain progress having been reached in talks with the Myanmar leadership was noted.  It was hoped that those talks would lead to a meaningful, substantive and time-bound dialogue aimed at reform, national reconciliation, democracy and full respect for human rights.  Particular responsibility for creating the appropriate conditions for dialogue lay with the military leaders of Myanmar.  The use of continued violence by the military leadership against political opponents was a concern, so, particularly, were reports of the forcible recruitment of children and their deployment by the army.  The return of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar was welcomed; it was hoped that the Council would be briefed about his observations.


He said Slovakia reaffirmed its call on the regime in Myanmar to immediately stop human rights violations and to address the concerns of the international community, including the immediate release of political prisoners.  It was high time for the Government to embark on a credible and fully participatory reform process that would lead to a genuine democratic transition and national reconciliation, in order to avoid further loss of life and an escalation of tensions that would have dire consequences, not only for the country, but for the entire region.  The engagement with Myanmar of countries in the region was welcome, as was the positive pressure that they had been applying.  Such engagement had to be redoubled.  If current efforts were to bring further positive results, then the continued active role of the Security Council was indispensable.


DUMISANI KUMALO (South Africa) said he fully supported the Secretary-General’s decision to send his envoy, Mr. Gambari, to Myanmar for the second time in three months, and that his efforts were symbolic of the international community’s commitment and unwavering support for peace and stability in that country.  The Council’s presidential statement of 11 October had also sent the message of support for the international efforts, and the Government was to be thanked for having allowed the envoy to visit the country and fulfil his mandate.


He said talks between the Government and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi were a step in the right direction, as was her meeting with fellow leaders of the National League for Democracy, which gave room for optimism that they would have a significant impact on the much needed political progress in Myanmar.  Only negotiations between all parties and without preconditions would lead to resolving the country’s challenges, which needed the commitment of all towards finding solutions.


He said he supported all efforts to facilitate dialogue in Myanmar, including the good offices of the Secretary-General and Mr. Gambari’s endeavours.  Also commendable were the roles played by Myanmar’s neighbours and by ASEAN.  The 20 November ASEAN Summit would discuss the situation, and South Africa would support the efforts of the regional body.


ZALMAY KHALILZAD ( United States) said that a presidential statement in October had called for the creation of the necessary conditions for a dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi and others to achieve, among other things, national reconciliation with direct support of the United Nations.  He welcomed the statement by Aung San Suu Kyi, released by Mr. Gambari on 8 November, and supported her wish for a meaningful and time-bound dialogue.  That dialogue should begin as early as possible.  Heartened by the decision of the military regime to permit Aung San Suu Kyi to communicate her views, he said those steps did not yet constitute a fundamental shift.  The Council must sustain its engagement.  The regime should fulfil its obligations to the Council and begin as early as possible a substantive national dialogue with no preconditions.


He said the United Nations role could facilitate dialogue and ensure that such dialogue was credible.  That was why the Council and Aung San Suu Kyi had welcomed the good offices role of the United Nations.  There should be a stop to ongoing arrests and immediate and unconditional release of all detainees, including Aung San Suu Kyi.  It was critical that she was free to consult broadly with political organizations and ethnic minorities.  While the United States was pleased that Aung San Suu Kyi was permitted to meet with her party members, that positive development must be extended and expanded.  The Burmese regime must allow Mr. Gambari to maintain his own itinerary.  The regime must meet the demand of the Council and cooperate fully with him.  That would include unrestricted access to all persons and organizations in Burma.


Expressing his appreciation for the role played by those countries in the region with influence on Burma, he called on them to continue their efforts.  The United States, he added, fully supported the good offices mission and believed that that mechanism could facilitate a peaceful transition to a democratic Burma.  All relevant parties must redouble their efforts to achieve democracy, national reconciliation and full respect for human rights.  The authorities should release Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners.  The Council should continue to balance engagement with appropriate pressure.


JOHAN VERBEKE ( Belgium) said the recent meetings of Mr. Gambari in Myanmar were developments in the right direction, but the freeing of Aung San Suu Kyi was essential for further progress in the country.  He invited the authorities of Myanmar to translate their commitment to the United Nations into actions.  He was deeply concerned that many people were still in detention.  They must be freed without delay.


He said he looked to the ASEAN and East Asia summits in Singapore for assistance in moving Myanmar towards positive action.  The Security Council must also continue to be seized with the issue.  Recounting recent relevant actions by the European Union, he said that those actions aimed to support the Secretary-General’s good offices and progress towards democracy in Myanmar.


WANG GUANGYA ( China) said Mr. Gambari’s recent visit had yielded positive results, including a candid dialogue with Myanmar leaders and a meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi.  Moreover, the Myanmar Government had agreed to allow ICRC to visit the country and was now receiving the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation.  All of that showed that the political process in Myanmar was on the right track.  Although the Special Adviser had been unable to meet the top leader, Mr. Gambari’s visit was a success.  The issue of Myanmar could not be resolved overnight, and the Secretary-General’s good offices were a process.  The international community should also show due patience.  Among other things, Mr. Gambari should continue his candid dialogue and provide facilitation and assistance for the political dialogue process.


He said the international community should make positive efforts to complement the Secretary-General’s good offices.  The Myanmar issue was in essence an internal affair and did not pose any threat to international or regional peace and security.  The international community should cherish the current good momentum.  Sanctions would not help resolve the issue but, rather, further complicate the situation.  They would even undermine the dialogue and reconciliation process that was starting, and interrupt the existing contacts and cooperation between the country and the United Nations.  That was the last thing China and all other countries in the region wished to see.


The Myanmar issue had three aspects: how to improve the life of its people; how to promote ethnic harmony; and how to expand political participation and promote democracy and the rule of law.  He said he hoped the Myanmar Government would listen carefully to the views of all parties and that top priority could be given to maintaining national unity and stability and promoting long-term development.  His country supported ASEAN in playing a constructive role in the Myanmar issue.   As a friendly neighbour, China sincerely hoped Myanmar would return to stability, make progress in development and achieve political democracy and national harmony at an early date.


JEAN-MAURICE RIPERT ( France) said the release of Aung San Suu Kyi’s statement and her meeting with the Special Adviser had been timid steps in the right direction.  There was now a possibility of real dialogue.  The Burmese authorities seemed to understand that a return to the situation as it had been was no longer an option.  The international community and countries in the region must continue to work together around common goals, including national reconciliation, respect for human rights and transition to democracy.


He said the first steps were still far removed from meeting the expectations expressed by the Council.  The Special Adviser had met obstacles during his visit, arrests had continued and, yesterday, one of the young figures of the democracy movement had been arrested.  He said he hoped the visit of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Pinheiro, could make progress on the subject.  Vigilance was of the essence.  Aung San Suu Kyi had shown a readiness for dialogue and the authorities should engage in such dialogue and lift restrictions on her.  The high-level dialogue must be genuine and time bound.  The international community must be ready to react positively if genuine dialogue began.


He said the European Union had set an example by stating its preparedness to lift its sanctions if progress was made.  He also supported establishment of a trust fund for humanitarian projects and establishment of a group of friends to support Mr. Gambari’s mission.


MARCELLO SPATAFORA ( Italy) said the window of opportunity for Myanmar appeared to still be open, as the general support of the international community for the good offices of the Secretary-General continued.  Despite the positive outcomes of Mr. Gambari’s visit, however, the limited access granted him during his visit was not consistent with the Government’s commitments.  Arbitrary detentions and disappearances continued to occur.  He hoped that the Special Rapporteur’s visit would help with that concern.


National reconciliation was the only way forward in Myanmar, he said.  Further engagement by regional players was still required, as well.  The situation continued to garner much attention in Italy.  In addition, the European Union would be speaking with one voice to support democratization and human rights in Myanmar.  There should be no debate now on whether the glass is half empty or half full, only how to progress from here.


VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation), pointing out the positive changes in Myanmar, said he nevertheless expected the Government to follow through on its democratization road map, with international support. Threats, pressure and sanctions from outside the country would be counterproductive, however, and would hinder efforts for national reconciliation.


RICARDO ALBERTO ARIAS ( Panama) said he welcomed the fact that the representatives of Myanmar and ASEAN were present, but he would have preferred that their presentations could have taken place before Council members spoke.  He welcomed the successes of the visit of Mr. Gambari to Myanmar, and noted positively the invitation to the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Pinheiro, to visit the country.  He regretted the lack of progress in certain aspects of the dialogue.  The failure to free political prisoners and the continued imprisonment of Aung San Suu Kyi were obstacles to political progress.  He urged all States, particularly those who had influence on the country, to leave no stone unturned in their efforts to move towards a satisfactory outcome of the process under way.  It would be unfortunate if there would be a relapse to the situation as it had been before.


JORGE VOTO-BERNALES ( Peru) said some progress had been achieved towards national reconciliation, respect for human rights and transition to democracy in Myanmar.  While welcoming the visit of Mr. Pinheiro, he regretted the Government’s request to withdraw the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Coordinator.  Although some fundamental freedoms had been restored, violations of human rights and actions against leaders of the opposition and ethnic minorities continued.  It was not acceptable that leaders of the opposition, including Aung San Suu Kyi, remained under house arrest. 


He said all political prisoners must be freed and actions must be taken towards a genuine national dialogue.  The number of internally displaced persons had increased, which could create instability within the country, as well as in the region.  Inclusive dialogue was the only way that could lead towards national reconciliation.  He was encouraged by the efforts of countries in the region, ASEAN and the international community.  He supported the delicate task of Mr. Gambari and his good offices mission.


PASCAL GAYAMA ( Congo) said the good offices of the Secretary-General were indeed beginning to produce good results in Myanmar, even though the response of the Government was not all that the international community expected.  He welcomed the fact that Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners were now closer to freedom.  Even if such achievements were limited, the Council should embrace such progress and continue in the direction of conciliation.  He welcomed the efforts of all those who were working to make Mr. Gambari’s efforts successful, and said such efforts must continue.


NANA EFFAH-APENTENG ( Ghana) paid tribute to the efforts of Mr. Gambari, ASEAN and other actors in Myanmar, but said he was, nevertheless, concerned over continued restrictions on opposition groups and their leaders.  He said the Government must make further progress towards democratization and human rights.  The Government should also cooperate fully with the human rights Rapporteur and other United Nations mechanisms, and he urged the international community to continue supporting the Secretary-General’s good offices in regard to the Myanmar situation.


MUTLAQ MAJED AL-QAHTANI (Qatar) said it was encouraging to see that the Special Adviser had been able to meet with the political authorities in Myanmar and that the Special Rapporteur on human rights had been able to visit the country.  Even though the situation remained of concern, those positive changes allowed for hope.  He was confident that soon an all inclusive dialogue would take place.


He said the Council had recently met to consider at a high level the role of regional and subregional organizations in the maintenance of international peace and security.  The work of such organizations regarding Myanmar was a clear example of what could be done.  The work of the Special Rapporteur in re-establishing dialogue in Myanmar was of primary importance.  The situation in Myanmar needed redoubled efforts to foster national reconciliation.  Council members must do everything to avoid taking hasty decisions that would put obstacles in the way of the work of Mr. Gambari.


Speaking for his country, the Council President, MARTY NATALEGAWA ( Indonesia), said that the Government of Myanmar’s decision to allow Mr. Gambari and the Special Rapporteur on human rights to visit was encouraging, as were the contacts between the Government and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.  He encouraged the Government to further remove constrictions on her, and welcomed the readiness of Aung San Suu Kyi to cooperate with the Government to make the process of dialogue a success.


All parties concerned must make best use of this moment for national reconciliation in an all-inclusive manner, he said.  He expressed appreciation for the acknowledgements of the role of ASEAN in supporting the good offices of the Secretary-General, and said that every ASEAN member country had the responsibility to honour the values shared by the group.  The Security Council must also speak with one voice on the Myanmar issue.  He urged the Government to continue to cooperate fully with Mr. Gambari and other United Nations mechanisms.


U KYAW TINT SWE ( Myanmar) congratulated Mr. Gambari for the fruitful outcome of his mission.  He said the accomplishment was all the more commendable in view of the unwarranted pressures on him from some quarters to unduly hasten his visit, which had created a less than favourable environment for him to carry out his good offices mandate.


Highlighting some developments in Myanmar since Mr. Gambari’s visit, he said peace and stability had been restored and life had returned to normal all over the country.  The curfew had been lifted in toto and there had been no further arrests in connection with the demonstrations.  Almost all those detained in connection with the September unrest had been released.  However, some had been found to have been involved in a conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism.


He said a 54-member committee had been established to draft a new Constitution and a Minister had been appointed to liaise with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.  She had confirmed that the first meeting with the Minister on 25 October had been constructive.  She had also stated that “the Government was serious and really willing to work for national reconciliation”.


It was disappointing that, notwithstanding the positive developments, some continued to express scepticism, he added.  The challenges facing Myanmar were complex and delicate; the Government was promoting national unity and national reconciliation, while at the same time laying firm foundations for an enduring democracy.  Both parties to the national reconciliation process had expressed satisfaction with the ongoing dialogue.


He said encouragement was needed, not undue outside pressure.  The good offices role mandated by the General Assembly should be allowed to play its catalytic role in facilitating the national reconciliation process.  The Council should provide encouragement and must refrain from taking any action at the current critical juncture.  There were situations in the world that threatened international peace and security.  The situation in Myanmar was certainly not among them.


VANU GOPALA MENON ( Singapore) noted that his country was the current chairman of ASEAN, but that he was speaking in his national capacity.  He said that Mr. Gambari possessed the most critical attribute for the role he was playing: enjoying the trust of both the Myanmar Government and of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.  Both parties saw value in his continued engagement.  To date, nobody had done better than Mr. Gambari.


The situation in Myanmar was extraordinarily complex, he said.  He called for the release of those detained during recent protests, as well as previously detained political prisoners.  He added that his delegation was disappointed by the Government’s decision to end the assignment of UNDP Resident Coordinator Charles Petrie.  At the same time, he continued, one should not dismiss the positive indications coming from Myanmar: the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar had been allowed to visit the country after a four-year hiatus; Myanmar’s Minister for Labour and Relations had been appointed as a liaison between Aung San Suu Kyi and the Government.


While disappointed that Mr. Gambari had not met Myanmar’s Head of State during his last visit to Myanmar, he said he was encouraged that Mr. Gambari had had access to the rest of the country’s leadership, and had met with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other stakeholders.  He welcomed the partial lifting of political restrictions on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, which had allowed her to meet fellow National League for Democracy officials on 9 November.


The most significant development had been the statement by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi taht Mr. Gambari had delivered to the international community, he continued.  While it would have been better had she been released and allowed to deliver her remarks herself, it was extremely significant that she had expressed clear support for the current process and the good offices role of the United Nations.  He urged the Government of Myanmar to continue to engage Mr. Gambari at the highest level and grant him full access to all parties in Myanmar.  National reconciliation would require commitment and dialogue at the highest level.  The Government also needed to establish a meaningful, results-oriented and time-bound political dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.  Such a process should be inclusive and involve all stakeholders, including various ethnic groups.  He was heartened by the National League for Democracy spokesman’s press statement of 9 November that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi believed “the ruling authorities have the will for national reconciliation” and that she intended to work with Minister Aung Kyi.


He added that the international community should respect the views of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and do what it could to support Mr. Gambari in his mission.  “We should not make this already complex mission more difficult by precipitate moves,” he said.  There were no quick fixes, and the international community should not complicate the process by injecting unreasonable timelines or unrealistic expectations.


He said ASEAN and its regional partners fully supported Mr. Gambari’s efforts.   Singapore’s Prime Minister had invited him to brief the leaders of the East Asia summit in Singapore next week.  That would be an important opportunity for him to personally update and engage leaders from ASEAN, China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia and New Zealand.


YUKIO TAKASU ( Japan) said he welcomed the positive outcome of Mr. Gambari’s visit to Myanmar, and said the statement issued by Aung San Suu Kyi and read by Mr. Gambari on her behalf was a clear indication of her willingness to engage in a meaningful and time-bound dialogue with the country’s leadership.  The decision of the Government to allow Aung San Suu Kyi to meet with the leaders of her party, the National League for Democracy, and her second meeting with Minister Aung Kyi on 9 November, had been positive moves from the Myanmar Government.


It was important, he said, that the good offices of the Secretary-General and his Special Adviser be supported.  Noting that Mr. Gambari had been unable to meet with some of the people he had wished to meet, he added that the Government of Myanmar should continue to cooperate fully with the United Nations, and to engage with the Special Adviser.


He said the Secretary-General’s good offices were a process and not an event.  One mission by itself could not solve everything.  It was, therefore, important for the international community to continue to act in concert and to support such efforts.  The Government of Myanmar should take advantage of the opportunity for a genuine dialogue, including all relevant parties, in order to achieve national reconciliation.


Japan, he added, was ready to act constructively, in close cooperation with the Secretary-General and his Special Adviser, as well as other interested countries, particularly those of ASEAN and of the region, to improve the situation in Myanmar and to help solve the issues through dialogue between and among the parties concerned in Myanmar.


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