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UN committed to helping Myanmar on road to peace and democracy - Ban

8 June 2011 – Citing the array of challenges facing the newly installed Government in Myanmar, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today reaffirmed the commitment of the United Nations to remain engaged with the South-East Asian nation on its path to peace and democracy.

“It is clear that Myanmar today continues to face the same challenges it has faced for too long: the country’s human rights, political, social, economic and humanitarian problems are serious, deep-seated and long-standing,” read a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson.

“Equally clear, however, is the desire of the United Nations to see Myanmar succeed in addressing those challenges,” added the statement, which was issued following the meeting convened at UN Headquarters of the Secretary-General’s Group of Friends on Myanmar.

The meeting, the first to be held since the establishment of the new Government in Naypyitaw, heard from Mr. Ban’s Special Adviser, Vijay Nambiar, on his recent visit to the country.

Mr. Nambiar told the Security Council upon his return that while the country has taken small steps in the right direction by releasing some political prisoners and reducing the sentences of others, the measures have been short of expectation and insufficient.

In addition, the Government made an explicit commitment to keep the “peace door” open to political forces that had not accepted the recently adopted constitution or political roadmap.

“Whether the new Government has the political will, capacity and support to live up to its commitments and promises is yet to be seen,” today’s statement said. “In order for Myanmar to move forward, all citizens should be allowed to participate in building their country’s future.”

It noted that releasing all political prisoners and reaching out as broadly as possible through dialogue to all those who have a contribution to make – including pro-democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and political forces inside and outside Parliament – will be key to ensuring that any reforms enjoy broad support.

“Collectively too, the international community has a shared responsibility towards the people of Myanmar. Enabling the current process to result in a successful transition requires us to follow events closely but also to recognize efforts and maximize opportunities for meaningful change,” said the statement.

“That is why, with the cooperation of the new Government and the continued support of Member States, the Secretary-General is personally committed to the United Nations’ long-term engagement with Myanmar in the political, humanitarian and development areas, all of which are important to advance durable peace and democracy.”

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