Friday, December 03, 2010

Myanmar: Transition should include those who did not take part in polls

UN - The United Nations envoy on Myanmar today urged the Government to work out a broad-based political transition that includes those who did not participate in recent elections.

Among these is recently released Nobel Peace Prize laureate and pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), victor of the last elections two decades ago, which were invalidated by the South-east Asian country’s rulers.

“I got a programme which was fairly open and they allowed me to meet the people I wanted to meet, which was quite unusual and I think it was very welcome,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Adviser on Myanmar, Vijay Nambiar, said of his recent visit to the country.

One of the purposes of the visit was to encourage the Government to “build on recent developments and in a sense to work out a political transition that was broad-based and inclusive so that it involved both those who participated and who didn’t,” said Mr. Nambiar, referring to the 7 November elections.

“I did sense that the Government did receive my message,” he told UN Radio. “Now what they do is to be seen.”

During his visit, Mr. Nambiar, who is also Mr. Ban’s Chief of Staff, met with Ms. Suu Kyi, who was recently released after spending much of the past two decades under house arrest, and other members of the NLD. He also met with representatives of some of the major political parties who participated in the recent polls and members of civil society groups.

Mr. Nambiar, whose visit was carried out at the invitation of the Government and in continuation of the good offices dialogue between the UN and Myanmar, reiterated the UN’s long-term commitment to continue to work with the Government and people of Myanmar in their efforts to address the political, humanitarian and developmental challenges facing their country.

“There is a role for the United Nations both in the context of the political developments as well as the broader context of the socio-economic development,” he said, citing the UN’s humanitarian role in the devastation following cyclones Nargis and Giri.

“Of course the Government does see the increasing role of the UN in the context of sensitizing the international community to being able to draw down the sanctions which individual Member States have imposed on Myanmar, and they see that this could be an occasion – the new developments – to get a slightly better international environment that will help their economic development.”