Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi Not Mentioned by UN's
Ban to Than Shwe
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at
the UN: News Analysis
May 24, updated May 27 -- Ban
Ki-moon met with Myanmar's Senior General Than
Shwe for more than two hours but did not discuss or even mention Aung
Kyi, it has emerged. At Friday's
noon briefing at UN headquarters, Inner City
Press asked Ban's Deputy
Spokesperson Marie Okabe, "In this two-hour-and-some meeting
Than Shwe, was the issue of Aung San Suu Kyi raised? And what was
response?" Video here.
tried to leave open the possibility that Ban had raised the issue, saying
I know of. As
I said, this was a meeting that went on, my understanding is, for over
hours with, most of the time, members of his delegations present.
understanding is also that they had about a 40-minute
tete-e-tete. So the
part of that that was tete-a-tete, I don't know what transpired."
because Ban doesn't tell his Spokesperson's Office what he has
he sits down head-to-head with a military leader? Or that, there being
witnesses, the Spokesperson's office doesn't "know what transpired"?
Ban and Shwe: Aung San Suu
Kyi not shown, nor mentioned
in Bangkok, Ban Ki-moon himself was asked "Yesterday, have you
Aung San Suu Kyi?
answered, "I was there for purely humanitarian grounds. I am sure that
will have some other opportunities for addressing this issue."
Like when? At the pledging
slated for May 25? Some say Aung San Suu Kyi should be
allowed to be there.
Others note that Cyclone Nargis and the West's response may strength
general's grip on power.
Ban did not even mention Aung San
Suu Kyi in more than two hours with Than Shwe recalls his failure to
two Sudanese indictees of the International Criminal Court in his
president al-Bashir. And the UN, human rights groups say, is going out
way not to investigate or confirm renewed child soldier abductions by
Joseph Kony of Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Does soft power
On the media beat,
it is said that the media
into Myanmar agreed to some still-undislosed conditions. The UN, on
to China, allowed very few outside reporters, but made a space for its
in-house radio to come along, as Than Shwe himself might have done.
of May 27: there was been some push-back at the comparison
immediately above, and even some apparently related freezing out from
the opportunity to ask questions (which, in all snarkiness, tends to
prove rather than disprove the point). Video here.
But to explain: the point was and is that the UN's own in-house media,
no matter how well-intentioned, admits that it is not journalism, and
does not pursue questions like why Ban didn't visibly raise to Than
Shwe the issue of Aung San Suu Kyi in the
way that independent media pursues it.
the inclusion of the particular reporter on the side-trip to China
might be justified in terms of speaking Chinese, it is unclear if the
inclusion of in-house media on the overall trip may have limited the
number of outside journalists who would go. It is worth noting that the
reports of UN Radio were the more frequent pool coverage during the
trip. While a credit to hard work, it was also a problem, given the
acknowledged limitations, in terms of hold the UN accountable, of the
UN's in-house media. To be continued.
informal May 23 Inner City Press Q&A on Myanmar & Sudan, click here.
* * *
These reports are
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
here for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
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
UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA
Reporter's mobile (and weekends):
earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
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