Press Releases

    18 August 2004

    On Myanmar, Secretary-General Calls for Immediate Release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Engagement in “Substantive Dialogue” with NLD, other Political Parties

    NEW YORK, 17 August (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

    One month has passed since the National Convention, reconvened on 17 May by the State and Peace Development Council (SPDC), was adjourned on 9 July. The Secretary-General considers this to be an appropriate moment to comment on the proceedings thus far, and to elaborate on the United Nations’ expectations in the future process.

    The Secretary-General accepts that Myanmar faces complex and difficult challenges in its transition to democracy and its quest for national reconciliation. For this reason, he cautiously welcomed the announcement by the Government of its seven-stage road map in August 2003, and acknowledged the potential role that a body such as the National Convention could play in this process.

    It is the Secretary-General’s judgement that the National Convention does not currently adhere to the recommendations made by successive resolutions of the General Assembly. The Secretary-General believes that, unless and until the views of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and other political parties are sought and considered, the National Convention and the road map process will be incomplete, lacking in credibility and, therefore, unable to gain the full support of the international community, including the countries of the region.

    The Secretary-General believes that the recent statements and submissions reflecting on the rights and powers to be exercised and shared at the Union and Region/State level reportedly made by some ethnic nationality ceasefire groups were a positive development, although the National Convention authorities reportedly required them to amend their proposals.

    As a first step towards democratization and national reconciliation, the Secretary-General calls on the SPDC to make full use of the National Convention’s adjournment by immediately releasing Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and engaging the NLD and other political parties in substantive dialogue on how they can work together for the benefit of the people of Myanmar. It also remains essential for a mutually acceptable agreement to be reached with the ethnic nationality ceasefire groups. The Secretary-General further urges the SPDC to allow his Special Envoy to return to Myanmar as soon as possible to continue his facilitation efforts.

    The Secretary-General expects the countries of the region, including ASEAN member States, to take a leading role in actively counselling the SPDC to accelerate the process of democratization and national reconciliation.  In the event that verifiable progress occurs, he remains committed to taking appropriate measures to underpin progress, in partnership with the international community.

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