UN, Friends on Myanmar Meet Amid UK Posturing, China Intransigence, Ban
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, March 25, updated below -- Myanmar is the topic of a closed
this morning in the UN's new three story building by the East River
here, the day after the UK raised Burma in the Security Council, only
to have China call it a "sovereign state that must be
respected." We will live blog here from outside the meeting.
the run up to
this meeting of the Group of on Myanmar meeting, two senior UN
officials portrayed the UK and Gordon Brown as opportunistic, trying
to take domestic credit for the meeting which was already planned
before Gordon Brown requested it. "He did the same thing after
Cyclone Nargis," one of the officials said to Inner City Press.
"He knew the Secretary General was going, so he called for him
told Inner City Press that the UN has advised Myanmar to get better
at public relations at the UN. "But they are a military regime,
very military minded," the official lamented. The UN would like
to rehabilitate their image if not their practices.
Friends of the Secretary General on Myanmar begins meeting at 10 a.m.
in the UN's new North Lawn building, followed by a televised stakeout
on the building's second floor. We will live blog it below.
UN's Ban and Nambiar and Gambari, previous Friends
Inner City Press was told late
Wednesday that Ban Ki-moon might not take or answer questions after
But on March 24
he told Inner City Press that on
Myanmar, "I will answer you tomorrow." From the March 24 UN
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.
see. At 9:30 am, it was announced
Ban WILL speak at 11. We
will live blog the meeting and stakeout here -- watch this space.
of 10:15 a.m. -- Outside Conference Room 5 in the UN's new North Lawn
building, Ambassador Churkin of Russia and Lyall Grant of the UK
walked in and stood speaking. The DPR of India, jovial, arrived, as
did Singapore's Perm Rep. Just after 10, Ban Ki-moon arrived, with
Vijay Nambiar, Kim Won-soo, Lynn Pascoe and other staff.
the media, only
two cameras were present: Japanese TV and Inner City Press. Next
door, a UN Global Compact meeting broke up. UNGC director Kell came
out and told Inner City Press, you can't quote us. Is there no press
availability? No. This is our first time in the new building, Kell
said. Then a UN Security Officer came over and asked to see Inner
City Press' credential. Only at the UK.
of 10:45 a.m. -- unlike when staking out past meetings of the Group
of Friends on Myanmar, which were held in the basement of the UN's
"old" Conference Building where spokespeople and even
Ambassadors would step outside to smoke and talk, including ot the
press, this new building is antiseptic. There is no reason for anyone
to step out of the meeting room, so no one does.
request has been made to the UN Global Compact for a list of its
corporate members who do business in Myanmar, and how.
* * *
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.