Annan calls for help to push forward democratic transition in Myanmar

29 September 2004

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today expressed his hope that countries would redouble their actions, and provide support for United Nations efforts, to move forward the democratic transition in Myanmar.

A statement issued by a spokesman for Mr. Annan after high-level talks on the situation in Myanmar said the Secretary-General was pleased by the constructive discussions "which strengthened the sense of common purpose on how to assist Myanmar in making its process of democratic transition more inclusive and sustainable."

The Secretary-General also urged the authorities in Myanmar "to listen to advice given by friendly countries, in goodwill," and allow his Special Envoy Razali Ismail to visit the country as soon as possible, the statement said.

Speaking to reporters after the talks, Mr. Annan confirmed that the detention of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize and leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD), was one of the issues discussed and said that "all of us would want to see her released."

"We had a very good discussion on the situation in Myanmar, and we are going to continue our cooperation," Mr. Annan said of the meeting in New York, which included representatives from a dozen countries, the World Bank, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and Mr. Razali.

"Obviously, we have different and complementary roles, and we will use the individual influence of each of the countries to see how they can help to move the process forward," he added.

Yesterday a UN report said the human rights situation in Myanmar had not improved, with large numbers of people in detention, harsh sentences for peaceful political activities and restrictions on the operations of opposition parties.

In his speech this morning to the General Assembly, U Tin Winn, the Chairman of Myanmar's delegation, said, "Allegations of human rights violations in Myanmar are aimed at discrediting the Government for political purposes."

He noted preparations for a second session of a National Convention to draft a constitution, and stressed that the people of Myanmar would be able to elect leaders of their choice in free and fair elections after a new basic law is adopted.


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