Suu Kyi Declared Guilty, UN Has No Noon Briefing, Ban Rests from
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, August 11, updated
-- As Aung San Suu Kyi was pronounced guilty in
Myanmar and sentenced to at least 18 more months of house arrest, to
keep her from involvement in the 2010 elections under a pro-military
constitution, the UN in New York didn't even have its normal noon
press briefing scheduled.
28, Inner City Press asked Ban's Associate Spokesman Farhan Haq,
"the trial of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi ended with the Government or
the judge rejecting a witness from the Foreign Ministry. The trial
is now over and the verdict is expected on Friday. Does the
Secretariat or the Secretary-General have anything to say in this
repied, "we may have something further to say
once there is a verdict." Well, even past noon on August 11,
we're still waiting.
The UN Security Council has
consultations for 3 p.m. on August 11 -- see below.
While UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
recently visited Myanmar with a group of handpicked scribes for a
photo op with General Than Shwe and received negative reviews for not
even getting a meeting with Suu Kyi, he is now on vacation when her
sentence is announced.
it was known that Suu Kyis's verdict would be announced on Tuesday,
August 11, Ban's
Associate Spokesman Farhan Haq told the Press of
favorite note for the day: I know a number of you are going on
holidays next month. For now, we are expecting that, over the month
of August, we will provide noon briefings three days out of every
week -- namely, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. On Tuesdays and
Thursdays, we don’t expect to brief for now. Of course, if events
require otherwise, we might go back to daily briefings. But if
things remain calm, I hope you appreciate the slightly more mellow
on the eve of
the verdict being announced, the UN sent out at Media Alert that
"there will be no noon briefing on Tuesday" August 11. Some
surmise that the UN's Ban Administration doesn't want to answer any
questions about whatever canned statement it issues, and about the
fruit of Ban's stage managed trip.
UN's Ban and his scribes on way to Myanmar,
now no noon briefing scheduled
Constitution, following Inner City Press' report
over the weekend
over the August 7 visit to the UN of three senior Burmese exile
leaders, it received the following Constitutional analysis:
say that Sein Win says that under the Constitution the Commander in
appoints 25% of the seats. He can only appoint serving military
personnel, and under Article 232 j (ii) of the Constitution
retain their military ranks
is not the C-in-C "who must have a military background".
You mean the President. However, what the Constitution actually says
in the English version - official, but not authoritative - at Article
59 (d) is: "shall be well acquainted with the affairs of the
Union such as political, administrative, economic and military."
You might feel, as I do, that this automatically excludes all
military men from being President because they have, believe me,
absolutely no knowledge of economic affairs - just look at their
record over the years! Their record on political and administrative
affairs is also unimpressive. Suu Kyi is at least the daughter of a
the Constitution doesn't only devote "25% of the seats to people
with military backgrounds", they are military men. Of the other
75% who are elected, most of these will have military backgrounds as
well. So of the 440 - 110 nominated (military) and 330 elected
("civilian") - representatives in the People's Assembly
(which combines with the Nationalities Assembly to make the Union
Parliament), it would be safe to say that at least 350 are bound to
be military and ex-military, just as most of the Central Executive
Committee of Suu Kyi's NLD are ex-military (General Aung Shwe,
General Tin Oo, Col Maung Lwin, Col Lun Tin and so on and so forth.)
One day these 350 will want to change the Constitution - they only
need 330 votes.
brings us back to the main problem in Myanmar, which is that the
State is the Military, and the Military is the State and it is not
all that easy to separate the two."
decision on the case of Aung San Suu Kyi makes military dominance of
Burma all too clear. And where is the UN?
UN Security Council has announced emergency
consultations for 3 p.m. on August 11.
of 3:25 p.m. -- Western spokespeople outside the Council tell the Press
they are pushing for a Presidential Statement, but might have to settle
for a press statement or even less (what's now called remarks to the
press). China's Deputy Permanent Representative and charge d'Affaires
Liu strode into the Council with his political adviser. U.S. Perm Rep
Susan Rice stopped and made a statement, but went in as a reporter
tried to ask a question. Her office emphasizes: she will speak -- and
take questions? -- elsewhere in New York on August 12. Watch this site.
of 4:16 p.m. -- Council president for August John Sawers emerged to say
that some delegations have asked to send the U.S. draft to their
capital, therefore there will be no outcome today. France's Deputy Perm
Rep La Croix came and said much the same thing, adding that the 18
month sentence appears designed to keep ASSK from participating in the
2010 elections. Inner City Press asked for an update in France's move
for additional EU sanctions. La Croix confirmed and said these would
not be targeted at civilians. Question: would they let French companies
continue to profit from Myanmar?
* * *
UN, Burmese Exile Figures Denounce Nuclear and Constitution Reports,
No Team Ban Meeting
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, August 8 -- Days before the military government in Myanmar
will announce its verdict on democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, three
exiled Burmese leaders came to the UN in New York and told the Press
of a "Proposal for National Reconciliation." Inner City
Press asked "prime minister in exile" Sein Win about the
Constitution that was pushed through in the wake of Cyclone Nargis,
and under which the UN is reportedly considering working with the
regime on a 2010 election.
Sein Win said that the under the
constitution, the Commander in Chief, who must have a military
background, appoints 25% of the seats. Since the Constitution can't
be amended with less than 75% of votes, he said, the military
essentially has a veto over any amendments.
asked about the reports of North Korea assisted tunnels and nuclear
developments in Myanmar. Foreign minster in exile U Bo Hla-Tint said
that the reports are worrying, and that the UN Security Council
should take them seriously. Ban
Ki-moon, when Inner City Press asked
him this week about the reports, replied that he had no information,
no substantial information.
envoy to Myanmar Ibrahim Gambari told Inner City Press that the Rohingya,
Muslims so mistreated in Myanmar they take to the seas,
facing further abuse in Thailand and elsewhere, are not within his
mandate. Inner City Press asked the trio who their proposal deals
with Rohingya. "They are citizens of Burma," said NCUB
General Secretary (in exile) U Maung Maung.
He added that
not need a nuclear reactor, on which he said Russia is helping. We
already sell gas to Thailand, he said. "Burma does not look
forward to being a nuclear state."
UN's Ban with "former armed groups" -- who
refuse to go the government's bidding on the border, per trio
trio was not
able to meet with Ban's envoy, Ibrahim Gambari. Later, several Ban
advisers moaned that "we're going to get demarched on
Monday, why did you not receive, etcetera." The Ban advisers
said of the Burmese trio that they are "nice guys" but
"getting older and older" and "desperate." A wire
service journalist opined that his Asian bureau opined that "the
generals will never listen to them." It was, then, sad. But
heartfelt. We'll have more on this.
The August 7 press conference was organized and promoted by
Independent Diplomat, which also at the UN pushes issues of climate
change and small states and Western Sahara, among others. On the
latter, a UN staffer recently marveled at Polisario's representative
in Australia signing deals with Australian energy companies for some
future date, while the UN and its Office of Legal Affairs has
strikingly declined to comment on complaints that Morocco is illegal
moving to exploit energy and other resources.
The National Coalition
Government of Burma press release, seemingly referring to U.S.
lobbying rules, says that "more information is available at the
Department of Justice." Might DOJ have information or views on
the legality of Morocco's exploitation of Western Sahara? Or might
the War on Terror, even under Obama, still seem more important?
* * *