Thursday, 28 August 2008

Gambari meets Indonesian President – ASEAN divided

Mizzima News, 27 August 2008 - United Nations Special Envoy to Burma, Ibrahim Gambari, today concluded a meeting with the President of Indonesia concerning his ongoing efforts toward brokering a political solution to the fractured country.

Speaking in Jakarta, Indonesian presidential spokesperson Dino Patti Djalal told reporters that Gambari refused to divulge details of his visit last week to Burma, maintaining that he must first brief U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

According to Dino, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudyohono informed the Special Envoy of Indonesia's desire that he increase the frequency of his visits to Burma in the run-up to the 2010 general elections, as this would assist in enhancing Burma's credibility in the view of the international community.

Also, with Gambari having failed yet again to meet with the top leaders of the junta, Dino added that, "The President also promised to maintain correspondence with Myanmar's Senior General Shwe."

However, Gambari has recently received mixed messages from ASEAN members Indonesia and Thailand as to what Burma's political landscape – and specifically the 2010 general elections – should look like going forward.

Meeting yesterday with Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda, the Special Envoy was again apprised of Indonesia's belief that opposition and National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi must be involved in the 2010 general elections.

Yet, Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, in meeting with Gambari ahead of the latter's stop in Jakarta, was quite clear in his remarks to the Special Envoy that insistence on the inclusion of Aung San Suu Kyi only hinders the process, referring to the opposition leader as a "political tool" of the West.

Instead, Samak advised the Special Envoy on Monday that the international community "should talk about how to bring democracy to Burma and focus on the constitution and the elections,'' instead of focusing on the incorporation of the Nobel Laureate into the process.

It is expected that Gambari will discuss his latest trip to Burma with Ban during a stopover in Italy in the upcoming days.

As for ASEAN, with Burma continuing to loom as decisive as ever, the ten nation consortium is poised to hold its summit this December in Bangkok, as Thailand currently holds the chair.

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