Thursday, 28 August 2008

Cambodian MP urges UN, ASEAN to fulfill Burma promise


27 August 2008, New Delhi (Mizzima)- A Cambodian Parliamentarian on Wednesday called on the Secretary Generals of the United Nations and Association of Southeast Asian Nations to fulfill their promise on Burma by initiating a new approach to finding a political solution for the country.

Son Chhay, Chairperson of Committee on Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Media of the National Assembly of the Kingdom of Cambodia, in separate letters on Wednesday reminded both the Secretary Generals of UN and ASEAN the need for them to abide by their promises on Burma.

"They have both promised to look into the sufferings of the Burmese people and find a solution to the crisis. But till date there is no solid evidence that the promise has been kept or put into practice," Son Chhay told Mizzima over telephone.

Son Chhay, who is also the Chairperson of ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC) Cambodia Chapter, said it is a matter of deep concern for the international community to hear reports about detained Burmese democracy icon Daw Aung San Suu Kyi living without food.

"I believe that she [Aung San Suu Kyi] is on hunger strike… I think it is the right time to remind them [UN and ASEAN General Secretaries], that they must abide to their promise," Son Chhay.

Reports said Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under detention for the last 12 of 18 years, has refused to accept food supplies since mid-August, though the reason for her refusal is still not known.

A Burmese political party in exile told Mizzima earlier that Aung San Suu Kyi might be on hunger strike demanding direct talks with the ruling generals with regard to the ensuing 2010 general elections.

But spokesperson of her party – the National League for Democracy – Nyan Win said they could not confirm the information as they lack communication with their detained leader.

Son Chhay said Ban Ki-moon should realize that the current process of interaction with the Burmese military junta is not leading to a solution but is strengthening their rule.

Though Gambari had visited military-ruled country several times, there has been no productive outcome, Son Chhay said, adding that he agrees with Aung San Suu Kyi's decision not to meet the UN envoy during his last visit.

"We want a more serious action. Perhaps, the UN Secretary General should appoint somebody else," he added.

He said, Gambari had not been very effective or capable of producing any positive solution to the problems of Burma.

"I think it is about time that we find someone who is more capable," Son Chhay added.

And similarly, Son Chhay urged the ASEAN Secretary General, Surin Pitsuwan, to pay a personal visit to Burma and find a realistic solution to the political crisis in the country.

Meanwhile, the Asean Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC), in a press statement released on Wednesday expressed its concern over reports of Aung San Suu Kyi refusing food.

The AIPMC called on the UN and ASEAN to intervene and to ensure that Aung San Suu Kyi is given necessary attention.

The group urged the ASEAN Secretary-General to personally visit Aung San Suu Kyi and conduct a comprehensive assessment on her health.

"The Secretary General should also look into the reasons as to why she is refusing her food supply," the statement said.

The group also said Aung San Suu Kyi's refusal to meet visiting UN Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari last week is "an indication that his mandate is failing."

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