In a telephone conversation with Myanmar’s President Thein Sein today, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on all sides to cooperate in addressing the South-East Asian country’s major challenges following the opposition’s election victory this month.
He stressed that future generations would benefit from the foundations of democracy established by President Thein Sein's administration and pledged continuing UN support for Myanmar’s progress along the path toward a peaceful, inclusive multi-ethnic and multi-religious democracy, according to areadouton the call.
He noted that as discussions proceed for the formation of a new government, all major stakeholders must work in a spirit of unity, reconciliation and cooperation to address the major challenges confronting the nation, including those of national reconstruction, stability and development.
They must also tackle the issues of communal polarization, marginalization of minorities and advancing the peace process, voicing concern at the recent escalation of tensions in Shan and Kachin states and their impact in loss of civilian lives, as well as on the peace process. He encouraged all parties to resolve their differences at the negotiating table.
Mr. Ban’s call followed a similar one he made two days ago to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) which scored a resounding success at the polls.
He congratulated the President and the people of Myanmar for the successful conduct of the elections, the high voter turnout, and the peaceful, orderly, open and dignified manner in which it unfolded, calling it a tribute to the organization and leadership of the President and Government, as well as the professionalism of the Union Election Commission.
The UN has long been involved in Myanmar’s transition after more than 50 years of military rule, appointing a Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the issue. In 2007 Mr. Ban set up the “Group of Friends of the Secretary-General on Myanmar,” a consultative forum of 14 countries to assist him in his efforts to spur change in the South-East Asian nation.
Over the years, he has welcomed the release of political prisoners, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi herself. In 2010 he voiced concern over the decision to dissolve 10 political parties, including the NLD, ahead of the previous elections that November.