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On Myanmar's Nuclear Plans, UN's Ban Declines Comment, Split on Constitution

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 5 -- Emerging from a meeting with his Group of Friend on Myanmar, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was asked by Inner City Press what he makes of reports that Myanmar is developing a nuclear reactor or even, in an early stage, nuclear weapons with the assistance of North Korea and Russia. "I do not have any information on that," Mr. Ban replied, "therefore I am not able to comment on that."

   Afterwards, a senior Ban advisor told Inner City Press that Mr. Ban had been prepared to answer the question, and that the planned if-asked talking point was that the UN does not have an substantial or verifiable information, but that if it is true, it is a matter of grave concern as this is precisely the moment the international community should be driving toward non-proliferation. Oh that Ban had said that.

It was also explained to Inner City Press that if it had managed to ask if Ban favors modification of the country's constitution, pushed through in the wake of Cyclone Nargis, which devotes 25% of seats to people with military backgrounds, Ban probably would not have answer. "The Group of Friends is divided on that," the source explained.

UN's Ban in Yangon, nuclear plans not shown

  He argued against the theory that the timing of Wednesday's meeting was meant to allow Ban, before he set off on vacation, to speak his piece Myanmar. Rather, he said, some thing that Myanmar blinked on July 31 and put off the Aung San Suu Kyi verdict.

  With another statement, perhaps they'll think hard about what verdict to impose. But again, Inner City Press asks, not without sarcasm, does that mean Ban questions the separation in Myanmar between the judicial and executive - or military - branches of government? We're not commenting on that, a UN official answered. Nor about the Constitution. Watch this site.

  Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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