Tags: un | myanmar

U.N. Security Council Stumbles on Myanmar Conflict

Thursday, 11 Oct 2007 04:53 PM

By Stewart Stogel

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UNITED NATIONS -- After more than two weeks "examining" the situation, the United Nations Security Council was unable to take meaningful action against the ruling military junta of riot-torn Myanmar(Burma).

Last week, the Council received an "ominous" assessment of the situation plaguing the South Asian nation by U.N. special

representative Ibrahim Gambari who had just returned from the region where he held "urgent consultations" with the military junta.

While Washington and London believed that a resolution moving towards imposing sanctions on the Myanmar government was the next step, such an approach met with strong resistance from key Council members.

Both China and Russia, two permanent veto-wielding members, favored a "cautious" go-slow approach, especially Beijing.

Energy starved China has been a key player, along with neighboring Thailand, in developing and buying oil and natural gas from Myanmar.

While Myanmar's energy resources are small compared to those of near-by Indonesia and Malaysia, they are large enough and close enough to key nations in the region, to give the military government substantial political "influence."

As such, Washington was forced to go along with a non-binding presidential statement criticizing recent events in the country.

A copy of the statement obtained by NewsMax,, showed that the Council "deeply deplores" the use of violence gainst "peaceful" demonstrations.

The statement added: "The Security Council also calls on the Government of Myanmar to take all necessary measures to address the political, economic, humanitarian, and human rights issues that are the concern of its people and

emphasizes that the future of Myanmar lies in the hands of all its people"

The junta, while not reacting directly to the Council action, is believed to authorized the English language daily "New Light Of

Myanmar," a newspaper in the capital Yangon (Rangoon), to label the Buddhist monk protesters as: "stooges of foreign countries (who have been) putting on a play written by their foreign masters."

Since the protests broke out in early September, more than 2,100 clergy and civilians have been arrested and 13 people killed. More than 1000 still remain in government custody.

Following the Council move, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon announced that special representative Gambari would return to the region for "additional" consultations this weekend.

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