Myanmar, Japan "Disappointed" by Election Law, But Not on
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, April 5 -- Myanmar is not on the UN Security Council's April
work plan presented to the Press on Monday by Japan's Yukio Takasu,
this month's Council President.
interest of Council members the U.S., France, UK as well as Japan,
Inner City Press asked Ambassador Takaso what the Council or Japan
will do, following the National League for Democracy's decision to
boycott this year's election, from which Aung San Suu Kyi and other
political prisoners are excluded. Video here,
from Minute 36:56, non-verbatim transcript below.
said "we were hoping the general election would be inclusive,
meaning that people are entitled to participate. It is up to Mrs.
Aung San Suu Kyi or some individual to participate or not. But with
this legal impediment, it cannot be considered inclusive." Video
from Minute 38:50.
disappointed" with the electoral law, Takasu continued, saying
this was communicated by Foreign Minister Okada to either senior
Secretariat staff, senior Myanmar leaders or both, the former to the
General Ban Ki-moon yet to replace former Myanmar envoy Ibrahim
Gambari, who left the position in December, some wonder at the UN's
and international community's commitment.
Japan's Takasu and US Wolff, Myanmar on agenda not shown
that the U.S.
Mission to the UN favors leaving interim envoy Vijay Nambiar in place
until after the boycotted elections.
similar to the US's strange acceptance of Sudan's flawed election, on
which it has requested a Council briefing this week, while on the
ground Scott Gration praises it? And given Japan's
disinterest in election flaws and violence in Iran, how seriously
we take its commitment to an inclusive and credible election in
Myanmar? We'll see, this month. Watch this site.
transcript by ICP's UnFriends On Myanmar of Ambassador Takasu's
response to Inner City Press'
... There is very broad support of the role of the
Secretary-General's good offices, and the message that the
Secretary-General has been conveying to Myanmar's leaders and
government has the full support of all of us. Myanmar has been making
progress in democratization ... but now at this moment, this general
election, they promised to do it this year. It is an extremely
important occasion. So it's not only that it be free and fair ... but
it should be inclusive and credible. I think there is broad support
for that. What has happened since the publication of the electoral
law including this disqualification of certain category of people.
will not be a good basis for an inclusive and credible
election. As far as Japan is concerned, we regret very much, because
at a very senior level we have been talking very closely and we were
hoping that this forthcoming general election would be not only free
and fair but inclusive. Inclusive means that at least they are
entitled to participate. ... However because of the legal impediment
... I don't think this is inclusive.
are therefore very
disappointed and this disappointment has been communicated very
straightly from FM Okada himself, and that was conveyed to the very
senior people in the Myanmar leadership. ...
* * *
UN, As Friends on Myanmar Calculate Their Share, Ban Splits Difference
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, March 25 -- Following the closed door
meeting on Myanmar by
the UN Secretary General's "Group of Friends" on Thursday
morning, S-G Ban Ki-moon took two questions from the Press. One of
his advisors told Inner City Press that both the United States and
France have become "more nuanced," with only the UK still
beating the drum about what they call Burma.
He said that donors like
Norway and Australia and Japan are trying to "recalibrate."
He snidely pointed out that on roads outside of Yangon, the
construction equipment is "all from Caterpillar," the U.S.
India's Tata now plans a truck factory in Myanmar. India is said to
be concerned that if they don't invest, Myanmar will become an
economic colony of China. Money is talking.
was flanked by his interim envoy to Myanmar, Vijay Nambiar and
performed under the watchful eyes of diplomats from Friends of
Myanmar who urge a hands-off approach. One of these told Inner City
Press, before Ban began, that he would mention something about "that
lady." Inner City Press was about to say, "The Lady?"
but then asked Ban about it. See below.
Last Friends on Myanmar meeting- of this one, no photos were allowed
From the UN's transcript:
City Press: Mr. Secretary-General, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has said, she
has actually encouraged the NLD not to register for the polls under
the current laws. I wonder what do you think can happen between now
and when a date is set. Would you view that as a fatal flaw to the
election, if the NLD didn’t participate? And are you thinking of
naming a more permanent successor to Mr. [Ibrahim] Gambari to carry
out the good offices? Some say that having an interim person may
either reflect or be interpreted as a lack of commitment on the
SG: If what she said is based on her genuine belief,
based on the current situations, then we have to respect her
decision. I’m not quite sure what the surrounding circumstances
were as she made that statement. However, she is the leader of her
party and when she said such decision then I think that should be
respected. That depends upon how people will decide on that. As a
matter of principle, as I have said repeatedly, publicly and
privately to the Myanmar leadership, that this election should be
fully open, transparent, inclusive and participatory and credible,
and I told the Myanmar leadership that without full participation of
all the people, including political prisoners, and particularly Daw
Aung San Suu Kyi, it may not be regarded as credible and inclusive.
Therefore all the process and development, we have to carefully
monitor. And about the appointment of Mr. Gambari’s position: at
this time I have designated my Chef de Cabinet, Mr. Vijay Nambiar as
ad interim Special Advisor until such time when I will be able to
find a Special Advisor for that post.
City Press: There was at least one report that you proposed a name to
Myanmar and they turned it down. Maybe the report was wrong?
No. I have never proposed any names.
purveyor of the report was the only other journalist to ask Ban a
Myanmar question. Before he did, a UN Security Officer asked him to
move away from the meeting room. He maintained to Inner City Press
that Nambiar traveled to Myanmar to deliver Ban's letter, and that
Ban has received a response that emphasizes Myanmar's sovereignty.
Inner City Press asked at the noon
briefing for confirmation that a
response had been received, but the spokesman merely said he would
look into it. Watch this site.