Singapore urges ‘immense patience’ with Burma
Bangkok Post, 15 March 2008
Singapore (dpa) – Authorities in Burma missed an opportunity to engage UN special envoy Ibraham Gambari more substantially, but his visit last week was not a failure, a spokesman for Singapore‘s Foreign Ministry said Saturday.
Gambari’s mission “is a very difficult one,” the spokesman said in a statement. “The (Burma) issue is complex and demands immense patience and sustained effort.”
Singapore and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) will continue to strongly support him, the spokesman said. Asean groups Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Burma.
Singapore currently holds the Asean chairmanship.
The spokesman urged the international community to keep giving Gambari the support that he needs.
Gambari made his third trip to Burma since last year’s bloody crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy protests.
The military government rejected a UN offer of observers for May’s constitutional referendum and 2010 elections.
Noting that Gambari did speak to a wide range of people, the spokesman said, “These are positive developments.”
He mentioned several Burmese ministers; the Commission on Holding the Referendum; the Committee on Drafting the Constitution, and the National League for Democracy. Gambari also met opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi twice.
She led the National League for Democracy to victory in 1990 elections, a result that was never recognized by the regime.
“Much needs to be done to ensure an inclusive political process,” the spokesman said. “We urge the Myanmar authorities to reconsider their position.” Myanmar is the military regime’s name for Burma.
“Whatever the difficulties, Gambari remains the best prospect for moving the political process forward,” he noted. “His continued engagement with the Myanmar authorities is therefore necessary if there is to be progress in the process of national reconciliation in Myanmar.”