UN envoy to return to Myanmar on Saturday

Ibrahim Gambari

31 October 2007 – United Nations Special Adviser Ibrahim Gambari is set to arrive in Myanmar on Saturday, his second visit to the South-East Asian nation since authorities used force in responding to a wave of peaceful protests that began in August.

The 3 to 8 November visit follows Mr. Gambari’s recently concluded tour of Myanmar’s regional partners that included stops in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, China and Japan.

“His second visit to Myanmar this time will have to bring substantively different results,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to reporters in New York.

During his upcoming visit, Mr. Gambari will follow up on his offer to facilitate implementation of the recommendations made to the Government during his last mission.

These include immediate steps to address human rights concerns in the wake of the recent crisis and a framework for meaningful and time-bound dialogue between the Government and Aung San Suu Kyi as a necessary part of an inclusive national reconciliation process.

A Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Ms. Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for four years, and has spent 11 years in detention since her party and its allies won the 1990 election with over 80 per cent of the Parliamentary seats.

The goal is “that he will facilitate this dialogue between the Government and opposition leaders,” stated Mr. Ban, who also called for “more democracy measures by the Myanmar Government, including the release of all detained students and demonstrators.”

The Special Adviser will also follow up on implementation of confidence-building measures, including the possibility of establishing a participatory constitutional review mechanism and a broad-based poverty alleviation commission.

UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters that Mr. Gambari will consult with a broad range of representatives of Myanmar society, including all the groups which he was not able to see last time. “He looks forward to the continued cooperation of the Myanmar government in this regard.”

Prior to his arrival in Myanmar, Mr. Gambari will meet with Mr. Ban on Friday in Istanbul, where they will discuss a substantive agenda and ways to facilitate the democratic process, including the release of detainees, she added.

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