Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Gambari's Four Demands, the UNSC's Five Points of Consensus, and Sanctions

A Oct. 8 UN report (linked HERE) lists UN special envoy to Myanmar Ibrahim Gambari's demands, as well as the Five Points of Consensus to which the UN Security Council agreed on Monday:

Gambari said the UN is waiting for a concrete response from the Burmese government on the issues raised by him. These include: release of political prisoners; humanitarian access to those in need; cessation of hostilities against ethnic minorities; health and educational issues; and co-operation with the ILO.

“Then we have added some new ideas; for example, how to deal with the underlying process of discontent of an economic and political nature, and also possible ideas about constitution review. Now we are just waiting for the response. We will judge by what they actually do,” Gambari said in response to a question.

After his third briefing before the Security Council in ten days, Gambari said five points of consensus have emerged.

“One is that unity among Council members is the key to really getting Myanmar and the authorities to move along the lines that we all want, which is peaceful, democratic Myanmar, with full respect for human rights,” he said.

“Secondly, there is strong support among all Council members for the role of the good offices of the Secretary General.

“Third, there is a consensus… that the status quo ante is unacceptable and unsustainable and is probably unrealistic. We cannot go back to the situation before the recent crisis. The underlining factors—socio-economic and political—must be addressed,” he said.

Fourth is the critical role of Asean, the neighboring countries and regional powers.

“The fifth point that emerged by consensus in the discussions is that a return visit to Myanmar and to the region would be useful in order to keep the momentum, which we must not allow to slip,” Gambari said.

Back to the issue of sanctions and the generals' opinion that Burma is in the throes of economic development and ecstacy, a commentary indicates:

"In 2005, the average Burmese citizen had an annual income of $170, compared to $350 and $400 in Cambodia and Laos."

The difference between Burma and other poor Southeast Asian countries is that Burma has been unable to prove to the world that it is capable of good governance, and so has suffered from reduced aid and stringent sanctions, not to mention rejection by development institutions like the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.

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