UN Security Council Issues a Statement on Suu Kyi

23 May 2009, Irrawaddy news,

WASHINGTON — The 15-member UN Security Council on Friday expressed its concern about the trial of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the current political situation in Burma in a council statement.

The Security Council president for the month of May, Ambassador Vitaly Churkin of Russia, said: “The members of the Security Council express their concern about the political impact of recent developments relating to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.”

Reaffirming the sentiments of the previous two statements issued by the Security Council in 2007 and 2008, Churkin said the council reiterated the importance of the release of all political prisoners.

However, unlike previous statements of concern, the statement was downgraded from a presidential statement to a statement issued to the press.

“The members of the Security Council reiterate the need for the Government of Myanmar [Burma] to create the necessary conditions for a genuine dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all concerned parties and ethnic groups in order to achieve an inclusive national reconciliation with the support of the United Nations,” he said.

Churkin said the Security Council members affirmed their commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Burma and said the future of the country lies in the hands of all of its people.

Talking to reporters outside the Security Council at the UN headquarters in New York, US Alternate Representative for Political Affairs Rosemary A DiCarlo expressed satisfaction with the Security Council’s decision to issue the statement.

During the past two days, the United States, Britain and France had consulted with other members of the Security Council on the Burma issue.

Because of stiff opposition from two veto-wielding members, the council was only able to issue a council statement on this occasion, DiCarlo said. The Burmese military junta in the past has simply ignored such statements from the UN.

Asked if she thought the council statement would have any impact on the Burmese military government, DiCarlo said: “We will continue speaking out to get that impact that we need. We know Rome wasn’t built in a day, and one statement isn’t necessarily going to do the trick. But we will continue to do so.”

Noting that countries who normally do not want to comment on such issues felt the need to comment this time around, the US diplomat said the US-led group obtained some good support from the Asian region.

“As I said, we’ve worked very collaboratively with other members of the Council. And we’ve made a very clear statement and tied it very clearly to the developments surrounding Aung San Suu Kyi,” DiCarlo said.

“The Council needed to speak out on this issue and speak with one voice. We’ve expressed our concern about the political impact of the recent developments related to Aung San Suu Kyi,” she said.

“We’ve reaffirmed our previous statements and called again for the release of all political prisoners, and made very clear that the Burmese regime needs to create the right conditions for a genuine dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi and with other concerned parties,” she said.

Talking to reporters, the British ambassador to the UN, Sir John Sawers, said the recent developments in Burma have “put the spotlight on the inhumanity of the regime” and “their failure” to follow the guidance not just from their neighbors and Asean, but also from all members of the UN Security Council that they should pursue a genuine national reconciliation and should create conditions for that.

“It is inconceivable that the trial and imprisonment of Aung San Suu Kyi can in any way contribute to that,” he said.

“She is the most prominent of the opposition leaders in Myanmar. She heads the party that won the only credible elections in recent memory in Myanmar and the regime needs to comes to terms with that, but has failed to do so,” Sawers said.

The British ambassador said the statement issued by the Security Council is an important expression of its concern on the recent developments in Burma.




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