October 29, 2007
UN special envoy satisfied with Indian support
UNITED Nations envoy for Myanmar, Ibrahim Gambari met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee, to convey a message from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon with regard to early solution of the violent crackdown on pro-democracy protests by the military government in neighbouring Myanmar. He told the reporters, when asked about his expectations that, “Whatever India can do, whatever other countries can do to ensure qualitative results... would be welcome and theoretically, all of us can do more.” Gambari said that he was “very satisfied" and “very encouraged” by India’s response.
Gambari, who will visit China as a part of his six-nation tour after visiting Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and India, said that he saw an Asian “consensus emerging” on how to deal with the secluded authorities and was “fully satisfied” with the advancement.
Praising China for its “very helpful” efforts in Myanmar, he said, “China has been quite helpful to the Secretary General and to me personally, by getting consent of the government of Myanmar for my last visit during the crisis and also to allow to me stay longer. I am going to Beijing to acknowledge that.”
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon talked to Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, over the phone and discussed the situation in Myanmar and urged India to play major role, which has been charged of failing to live up to its label as the ‘world’s largest democracy’. India has cultivated close relations with Myanmar’s military junta in recent years, citing its huge energy requirements, as well as its need to jointly fight against separatist rebels, who are active along the two countries’ border.
Protests against repressive military rule that has gripped the country since 1962, began on August 19 after the government raised fuel prices. The protests became more severe when Buddhist monks took the lead late last month. Soldiers opened fire on the demonstrators and thousands were arrested. The UN, backed by the United States and the European Union, has been asking ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) countries to do more to influence Myanmar’s military regime to end its crackdown on pro-democracy protestors and to initiate meaningful political process.