17 May 2006

Under-Secretary-General Gambari to Visit Myanmar, Beginning 18 May

NEW YORK, 16 May (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Ibrahim Gambari, will be leaving New York today for Myanmar, where he will begin a three-day visit, starting on Thursday.  The programme includes meetings with senior officials of the Government, members of civil society and representatives of political parties, including the National League for Democracy.

The United Nations has not been able to engage to this extent with the Myanmar Government and people on the vital issues of democracy and human rights for more than two years.  The Secretary-General views this visit, therefore, as an overdue and potentially important opportunity to assess developments in the country firsthand, and to see what more can be done, including by the United Nations, to help Myanmar move in the direction of all-inclusive democracy, sustainable development and true national reconciliation.  During his visit, Under-Secretary-General Gambari will convey a clear message that Myanmar's prospects for improved relations with the international community will depend on tangible progress in restoring democratic freedoms and full respect for human rights.

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