|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Secretary-General, in Statement to Media Following Meeting on Myanmar,
Calls for Prisoners’ Release, Reconciliation, Human Rights
Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s statement to the media on the high-level meeting of the Group of Friends on Myanmar, read by Ibrahim Gambari, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General, in New York today, 23 September:
Today I convened the second meeting of the Group of Friends on Myanmar at the level of Foreign Ministers. The high turnout demonstrates the strong collective interest of all the Friends in the future of Myanmar, and reaffirms the broad support for my good offices.
The year 2010 will be a critical year for Myanmar. The first planned election in 20 years must be held in an inclusive and credible manner to advance prospects for stability, democracy and national development.
As I said today in my address to the General Assembly, we will work hard for democracy, national reconciliation and human rights in Myanmar. The release of some political prisoners last week is a step in the right direction, but it falls short of our expectations. All political prisoners must be released -- including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
Our meeting today has given the Group of Friends an opportunity to consolidate unity of purpose and action in three important respects, and I call on the Friends, especially Myanmar’s friends and neighbours, to do more in the best interests of Myanmar and its people.
First, to urge Myanmar to work with the United Nations to ensure an inclusive process of dialogue and create the necessary conditions for credible elections consistent with the five-point agenda that the Group of Friends has endorsed, and with the proposals that I left with Myanmar’s senior leadership during my recent visit.
Second, to uphold the role of the United Nations with regard to Myanmar’s immediate and long-term challenges. The United Nations has invaluable experience in fostering national reconciliation, promoting respect for human rights, supporting sustainable development and helping countries make the transition to democracy.
Third, to signal the international community’s willingness to help the people of Myanmar address the political, humanitarian and development challenges they face, in parallel and with equal attention, and in particular to advance the Millennium Development Goals. But, Myanmar needs to help us to help them.
I am encouraged by the constructive spirit of the discussions so far. I welcome the willingness of the Friends to make joint efforts towards national reconciliation, a democratic transition and genuine respect for human rights in Myanmar.
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