Annan stresses need for human rights progress in Myanmar as top political officer to visit
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today emphasized the need for “tangible steps forward” by Myanmar on such issues as human rights, democratic reform and national reconciliation, as he announced the UN’s top political officer will visit the South East Asian country from Thursday to Sunday.
“The Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Ibrahim Gambari, will visit Myanmar from 9-12 November as an emissary of the Secretary-General, within the context of the good offices mandate given by the General Assembly and at the invitation of the Government of Myanmar,” Mr. Annan said through his spokesman.
The Secretary-General said the visit is “part of a process of dialogue that could lead to strengthened cooperation between the United Nations and Myanmar,” adding that Mr. Gambari is expected to meet with senior officials and others from across the political spectrum, including all those with whom he met during his first visit in May. At the time, Mr. Gambari met with the country’s most prominent democracy advocate, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
While voicing appreciation for the invitation to his envoy, Mr. Annan emphasized that the continued value of this engagement “can only be demonstrated by tangible steps forward on central issues such as human rights, democratic reform and national reconciliation.”
Mr. Annan has repeatedly called for the release of Ms. Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for 10 of the past 16 years. During his May visit Mr. Gambari met not only with her but also members of her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), and said that the isolated Government seemed willing to engage in dialogue with the international community.