Favors Sending Myanmar to ICC, China Says It's Sovereign, UN's Ban
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, March 24 -- Amid calls to refer the military government of
Myanmar to the International Criminal Court, like Sudan was referred,
UK Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant told the Press on Wednesday that his
country would support such a referral. But, he said, the Security
Council lacks the unanimity necessary for such a referral. Video
asked China's new Ambassador to the UN Li Baodong what his country
thinks of the Council discussing Myanmar's election laws. "General
elections in a country is a matter of sovereign states," he
replied, "and should be respected." This principle, he
said, applies to Myanmar. Video here,
from Minute 2:50.
emerged to speak about Myanmar, or Burma, Inner City Press asked him
about China position. We disagree, he said, noting that Myanmar is on
the agenda of the Security Council, that it can instability that is a
threat to international peace and security.
General Ban Ki-moon addressed the media, Inner City Press asked him
about Aung San Suu Kyi's call on her National League for Democracy to
not register for the upcoming elections, given how flawed the
election laws are.
answer tomorrow afternoon," Ban Ki-moon told Inner City Press.
from Minute 7:34, UN transcript
below. There will be a meeting of Ban's Group
of Friends on Myanmar, to be addressed by Ban's chief of staff Vijay
Nambiar. We'll be there.
UN's Ban and China's Li Baodong, Friends on Myanmar
On March 23, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman to confirm or
deny that Ban proposed a former Indonesian foreign minister to
replace Ibrahim Gambari as his envoy to Myanmar, but that Than Shwe
vetoed it. Nesirky said, "that's the first I hear of it,"
despite the report being included in an article Nesirky said was the
only story alleging that Nambiar secretly traveled to Myanmar earlier
asked the UK's Lyall Grant if the UK believe that a permanent
replaced for Gambari should be named. His reply noted that Nambiar is
only in the position on an "interim" basis. As Inner City
Press has previously reported, the U.S. has said it prefers not
naming a permanent replacement until after the elections, so that the
person is "not stained" by the elections.
24 UN transcript:
City Press: I wanted to ask in the run-up to this meeting with the
Group of Friends of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi has said that her
party, the NLD [National League for Democracy], and other opposition
parties, shouldn't even register for the poll, that the election laws
are flawed. I'm wondering; you convened the meeting, what's your
thinking of what the UN can do, given that the main opponent now
wants to boycott it?
Ban: let me answer tomorrow afternoon after I have convened the
meeting of the Group of Friends of Myanmar. I need to discuss this
matter with the ambassadors participating in that meeting. I will
have a clearer answer, if you excuse me.
* * *
London Calls for Myanmar Elections Meeting, UN Denies Nambiar Trip, His
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, March 16, updated -- Responding to the election laws
Myanmar's military government, excluding Aung San Suu Kyi and other
political prisons from running for office, UK Prime Minister Gordon
Brown said he has requested an emergency meeting at the UN in New
York. But what kind of meeting?
Permanent Representative to the UN Mark Lyall Grant walked into the
Security Council on Tuesday morning, he was asked about his prime
minister's statement: would the UK be asking for a Security Council
meeting? He paused, then replied, "Uh, no comment on that, I'll
get back to you."
expect the UK Mission to the UN to be able to, and to be eager to,
explain a letter to the UN from Prime Minister Gordon Brown, further
inquiry by Inner City Press indicates that Brown's request is for a
meeting of the Group of Friends of the Secretary General on Myanmar,
which includes among others former Council member Indonesia.
correspondent now in Washington reports that "the Burmese
military junta is understood to have 'vetoed' the name of Noer Hassan
Wirajuda, the former Indonesian foreign minister, as the new UN Envoy
for Burma." The UN has denied another portion of this report.
Update: at the conclusion of his
March 16 press conference, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon if he had
received a letter from Gordon Brown requesting a meeting of his Group
of Friends on Myanmar. There may soon be a meeting of the Group of
Friends, Mr. Ban answered, but said twice that he has not received a
letter from Gordon Brown.
The UK-MFA press release quotes Gordon Brown that "I have today
written to the UN Secretary General to call for an urgent meeting in
New York to discuss these developments." So can the UK not deliver a
Brown, if and when his letter is
delivered, has only requested a meeting with Secretary General
Ki-moon, whose chief of staff Vijay Nambiar has replaced previous UN
envoy on Myanmar Ibrahim Gambari, at least on an interim basis. On
March 15, Inner City Press asked Mr. Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky:
City Press: did Vijay Nambiar travel to Myanmar? There are some
reports that the letter described by the Secretary-General some time
ago at his stakeout was in fact delivered by Mr. Nambiar. Can you
confirm or deny that?
Nesirky: Well, I have seen one report, not some reports. I’ve
seen one report, and I have been in touch with Mr. Nambiar, and he
says it’s not true.
a reception for
the press corp in Nesirky's office Monday evening, Mr. Ban and his
deputy chief of staff Kim Won-soo appeared, but not Mr. Nambiar.
Gordon Brown in NY by TV, UK Mission and Nambiar not
Talk at the reception turned to the Non Aligned Movement's letter to
Ban chastising him for announcing he will appoint a panel to advise
himself about accountability for possible war crimes in Sri Lanka, a
topic on which we hope to have more later today. [Update: Inner City
Ban, click here.]
perhaps on the
UK request, too. Just after 11 a.m., with the Security Council still
meeting about the stage leaks Somalia Sanctions report, the UK's
Lyall Grant left the Council, deep in conversation with an aide about
"the letter." Did the UK Mission to the UN not get the
long standing reports that the UK is either dissatisfied with Mr.
Nambiar's performance or wants the chief of staff post it previously
occupied via Mark Malloch Brown, or both. But, the reasoning goes, to
move Nambiar out of the chef de cabinet post but keep him as
(India's) Under Secretary General, he would need the Myanmar envoy
post. If it is being filled by another, how might this game of
musical chairs end? Watch this site.