MEMBERS of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations welcomed
the visit last week by United Nations envoy Mr Ibrahim Gambari
to Myanmar to assess the democratic transition process and discuss
providing humanitarian assistance.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting with Mr Gambari in Bangkok
on November 13, one day after the envoy concluded his four-day
visit to Myanmar, Thai Foreign Minister Mr Nitya Pibulsonggram
said his country supported the UN’s diplomatic initiatives
“As we are members of ASEAN, we see it as a domestic issue.
But we support the UN’s role to bring positive development
to the country,” Mr Nitya was quoted as saying by Malaysia’s
state-owned Bernama news agency.
Singapore, another influential member of ASEAN, also hailed
the visit, saying it marked a new stage in the development of
a dialogue between Myanmar and the UN.
“This is an important opportunity for Myanmar authorities.
We hope that Myanmar will continue to work closely with the UN,”
a Singapore Foreign Ministry spokesperson said in a statement
issued November 13. “It is important that Mr Gambari be
able to report substantive and concrete progress in at least some
Speaking to reporters in Bangkok on November 13, Mr Gambari,
who also serves as the UN undersecretary general for political
affairs, said he hoped his latest visit as well as trips to Myanmar
by previous envoys would result in institutionalisation of contact
between the two parties, Bernama reported.
The visit included a meeting between Mr Gambari and Chairman
of the State Peace and Development Council Senior General Than
Shwe and senior members of the SPDC in Nay Pyi Taw on November
A UN statement issued after the meeting said Mr Gambari had
“frank and extensive dialogue covering a range of political
and humanitarian issues” at the meeting, which was also
attended by Vice Chairman of the SPDC Vice Senior General Maung
Aye, senior SPDC member General Thura Shwe Mann and Prime Minister
General Soe Win.
The statement said Mr Gambari also met with Daw Aung San Suu
Kyi and other officials from the National League for Democracy,
as well as members of the diplomatic corps based in Yangon.
The visit also included a study tour on November 10 to the National
Convention at the government-owned Nyaunghnapin resort, located
about 35 kilometres (22 miles) northwest of Yangon, where more
than 1000 delegates are holding discussions to draft a new constitution.
Among the topics Mr Gambari discussed with convention delegates
was the provision of humanitarian assistance by the world body
to Myanmar, a separate UN statement issued on November 10 said.
Before leaving Yangon for Bangkok on November 12, Mr Gambari
said he was “very satisfied” with the discussions
he had during the visit.