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Resolution on Burma
by Amin George Forji
2007-01-12 12:27:59
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The USA has introduced a draft resolution before the UN on the crisis in Myanmar, also known as Burma, describing the situation there as deteriorating and a serious risk to regional peace.

In the draft resolution, copies of which were circulated to the 15 members of the council, calls were made on the council to put pressure on the military junta in the county to free all political prisoners, as well as initiate concrete democratic reforms in the isolated southeast Asian nation.

Furthermore, it calls on the military junta to end repression, and unconditionally release political prisoners, such as the opposition leader and Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for most of the past 15 years.

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has, on a personal note, welcomed the move by the military regime in Burma to release up to 2,831 political detainees, but urged them to do more and release Aun San Suu Kyi and other political detainees.

"The Secretary General has taken note of the decision by the Government of Myanmar on 3 January 2007 to grant amnesty to 2,831 prisoners. He welcomes the reports that this includes the release of up to 40 political prisoners. The Secretary General urges the Myanmar authorities to go beyond this first step by releasing all other political prisoners in the country, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and by making further concrete progress on all of the issues raised in the context of his good offices,” read a statement released by Mr Ban's spokesperson.

Defending the American draft, Sean McCormack, spokesperson for the State Department, said that the resolution is very significant because it would paved the way for a transition to democracy, "This resolution calls upon the Burmese regime to act to stop the violence against ethic minorities and begin a legitimate process of political reform, which includes freeing of political prisoners."

The US is confident they can push for a vote on the text, but there is said to be stiff opposition from two of the five veto wielding powers, notably Russia and China, who have argued that Burma does not presently pose any threat to global peace and security. A threat to world peace and security is the main basis for initiating any resolution under the UN Charter. As a prediction to opposition, the carefully American worded text did not present any sort of punishment in the event where the military government fails to abide.

Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin stated categorically that the resolution was "not an appropriate issue to discuss in the Security Council." His Chinese counterpart, Liu Zhenmin, the Chinese Deputy Ambassador, told reporters at the UN headquarters that member states of the council were divided on the drafts.

Burma has been ruled by a military junta since 1962. In 1990, Aung San Suu Kyi, led her National League for Democracy party to a decisive landslide victory, being the first multi-party ballot in the country since 30 years. The military junta disregarded the results, and prevented her from governing. Instead, they subjected her to house arrest.

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