New York, 8 June 2011 - Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on MyanmarThis morning, the Secretary-General convened the first meeting of his Group of Friends on Myanmar since the establishment of a new Government in Naypyitaw. The Group heard from his Special Adviser, following his recent visit to that country.
Given Myanmar's decades-long conflict and political deadlock, this meeting took place against a backdrop of significant recent developments that could affect the country's future direction and standing regionally and globally.
It is clear that Myanmar today continues to face the same challenges it has faced for too long: the country's human rights, political, social, economic and humanitarian problems are serious, deep-seated and long-standing.
Equally clear, however, is the desire of the United Nations to see Myanmar succeed in addressing those challenges. President Thein Sein's stated recognition of the need to do so in a way that strengthens national unity, including through wide-ranging reforms, is welcome.
Whether the new Government has the political will, capacity and support to live up to its commitments and promises is yet to be seen. In order for Myanmar to move forward, all citizens should be allowed to participate in building their country's future.
Releasing all political prisoners and reaching out as broadly as possible through dialogue to all those who have a contribution to make – including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and political forces inside and outside Parliament – will be key to ensuring that any reforms enjoy broad support. There is no time to waste.
Collectively too, the international community has a shared responsibility towards the people of Myanmar. Enabling the current process to result in a successful transition requires us to follow events closely but also to recognize efforts and maximize opportunities for meaningful change. That is why, with the cooperation of the new Government and the continued support of Member States, the Secretary-General is personally committed to the United Nations' long-term engagement with Myanmar in the political, humanitarian and development areas, all of which are important to advance durable peace and democracy.
Statements on 8 June 2011
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