Tuesday, 26 August 2008

UN wants to continue mission

UNITED NATIONS (ST)- THE UN said on Monday it wanted to continue its good offices mission in Myanmar and refused to say why special envoy Ibrahim Gambari failed to meet with pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi during his recent trip.

A UN spokeswoman said that Ms Aung San Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest, was unable to attend a scheduled meeting with Mr Gambari but that the UN envoy met members of the National League for Democracy (NLD), the opposition party she leads.

'It was Mr Gambari's intention to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi, as he did on all previous visits, and the government made arrangements for such a meeting,' Ms Marie Okabe said.

'To his regret, the meeting did not take place. We are not going to speculate as to why she was not able to attend the meeting, but Mr Gambari did meet the NLD party twice.' Mr Okabe warned against judging the Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon's good offices mission by one individual visit.

'We have been saying all along that the Secretary-General's good offices is a process, not an event,' she said. 'One should not make judgment on the process based on each individual visit.'

'The Secretary-General has made clear upon returning from his own visits that he expects his good offices to deepen and broaden through the continued engagement of his special advisor.'

Asked when Mr Ban himself would make another visit to Myanmar, Ms Okabe said the UN chief had 'expressed his intention to go back when conditions are right,' and that part of Mr Gambari's mission was to prepare for any future visit by the secretary general.

Mr Gambari visited Myanmar on August 18-23, in an attempt to restart dialogue between Ms Aung San Suu Kyi and the ruling military regime. He was unable to meet with senior figures in the regime but held talks with the prime minister.

A spokesman for the NLD called Gambari's visit 'a waste of time.' -- AFP

No comments: