Saturday, November 17, 2007

China Blocks UN Security Council Presidential Statement on Burma


Last Thursday, US Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad has publicly stated that China has blocked the issuance of a UN Security Council Resolution on Burma. The story HERE.

The US on Thursday alleged that China blocked the issuing of a presidential statement on Burma at the UN Security Council.

Led by the US, a majority of the countries in the 15-member Security Council had favored issuing a presidential statement after closed door consultations on Tuesday and a briefing on the Burmese issue by Ibrahim Gambari, the UN Special Envoy on Burma.

A presidential statement—though not legally binding, unlike a resolution—can only be issued with a consensus, meaning that all members of the Security Council have to agree on it and its content. China opposed issuing a presidential statement on Burma, which would have been the second one in a little over a month.

“We were disappointed by their (China’s) unwillingness to support a PRST (presidential statement). They were only willing to support a statement. We worked hard to persuade them to go for a PRST, but they did not cooperate,” the US Ambassador to the UN, Zalmay Khalilzad said.

At the same time, Khalilzad noted the cooperation of China in the past with regard to Burma in facilitating the work of Gambari.

This is for the first time that a top US official has come out openly to state that China was not cooperating with it and other like-minded members of the Security Council on the issue of Burma. This was very much evident on Tuesday during the debate on Burma at the Security Council. While China and Russia observed that sanctions against Burma were counterproductive and termed the mission of Gambari to Burma as successful, the delegates of the US, Britain and France observed that the steps taken by the Burmese junta following international pressure were timid and more needed to be done.