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H. E. Mr. Unyan Win, Minister for Foreign Affairs

29 September 2008

Statement Summary

UNYAN WIN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Myanmar, noted that with the interdependence of the world economy, financial shocks transcended borders and affected all countries.  He described Myanmar’s concerted efforts to produce more crude oil and natural gas for both domestic and export markets, as well as its successful expansion of existing crops and the cultivation of new crops for both industrial and domestic use.  However, political and social progress would only be achieved through development, and not through the coercive economic measures and the “immoral” unilateral sanctions imposed on his country.

In order to fully participate in efforts to contribute to food and energy security in its region, Myanmar needed unfettered access to markets, modern technology and investment.  The sooner the sanctions were revoked and barriers removed, the sooner his country would become “the rice bowl of the region and reliable source of energy”.

Myanmar was taking great strides towards the betterment of its people.  At the crux of its national development plan was the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals.  Myanmar’s education initiatives and efforts to improve schools at all levels resulted in the literacy rate rising to 94.8 per cent, and the enrolment in primary schools to 98 per cent.  National plans to eradicate major disease, including HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, were also being implemented with successful results.  He decried, however, the allocation of resources for those health crises being based on politics, rather than need.

He observed that if broad reforms were implemented, the United Nations could serve the Member States needs more appropriately.  The Security Council needed to reflect the reality of the twenty-first century, and the General Assembly’s authority needed to be enhanced for the maintenance of international peace and security.  These reforms would ensure stronger membership, and improved working methods.  Furthermore, he called for commitments made at international summits and conferences to be translated into concrete action.

He then turned to the Secretary-General’s ministerial meeting on “Reducing Disaster Risks in a Changing Climate”, a timely issue for his country in the wake of Cyclone Nargis, which had left unprecedented death and destruction.  Through that tragedy, he spoke of the “silver lining in the dark clouds”, noting Myanmar’s people’s united response to the crisis, and the outpouring of generosity from the international community.  Through a demonstrated willingness and ability to work with the international community, better and stronger homes, schools and monasteries were rebuilt, and paddy fields replanted.

Home to over 100 national races, national unity was a priority to the Myanmar Government, and a national reconciliation policy was actively being pursued.  A seven-step political road map to democracy was being implemented, and the fifth step –- general elections –- would be held in 2010.  He concluded with a wish that the global village of the world would, with understanding and tolerance, work together to face the shares issues and crises, and create a “peaceful and prosperous future”.

[Source: GA/10758]


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