Annan renews appeal for dialogue between Myanmar authorities and opposition

Annan renews appeal for dialogue between Myanmar authorities and opposition

With the reconciliation process in Myanmar at a “pivotal” stage, substantive dialogue between the country’s authorities and opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is essential, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a report released today.

With the reconciliation process in Myanmar at a “pivotal” stage, substantive dialogue between the country’s authorities and opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is essential, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a report released today.

While welcoming the recent positive political momentum in Myanmar, the Secretary-General voices concern that it could dissipate unless some tangible progress is made in the near future.

“It is my strong belief that the objectives of preserving stability and pressing ahead with much-needed reforms are mutually compatible,” he stresses. “While recognizing the Government’s desire to build a strong nation that can withstand challenges to its territorial integrity, history has proved that a system of governance is more stable and sustainable when it is flexible enough to accommodate diverse opinions and allow peaceful change.”

Emphasizing that all-inclusive talks are necessary to ensure a smooth transition to democracy, Mr. Annan renews his appeal to Senior General Than Shwe, other leaders of the Government and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to set aside their differences, unite for the larger cause of national reconciliation and commence substantive dialogue as soon as possible.

He also reiterates his call on the Government “to find ways to release quickly all the remaining political detainees and to relax evenly the remaining restrictions on the activities of the legal political parties.”

The Secretary-General underscores the international willingness to assist in the transition process, but warns that it could falter without national support. “I remind the Government of Myanmar that the longer it delays in realizing its commitment to enter a substantive dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the harder it will become for the international community to provide a framework within which the process of national reconciliation can move naturally towards its logical conclusion.” he says.