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UN Secretary General Unhappy with UN Progress on Burma

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has expressed “frustration” and “disappointment” in UN diplomatic efforts to achieve progress of any kind in Burma.

Following a meeting of the Myanmar Group of Friends, Ban said that national elections scheduled for later this year must be “inclusive, participatory and transparent.”

Such polls would help to “advance the prospects of stability, democracy and development for all the people of Myanmar,” Ban told reporters following a meeting of the so-called Group of Friends, which brings together more than one dozen nations and one regional bloc in support of greater dialogue in the Asian nation.

According to the Secretary General, the junta must create the conditions to allow for free participation in the elections. “This includes the release of all political prisoners – including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi – and respect for fundamental freedoms,” he added.

Reportedly convicted of violating state security laws after an uninvited United States citizen gained access to her home, Aung San Suu Kyi faces an additional 18 months of house arrest. As a result of the conviction, she will be barred from taking part in the elections in keeping with the recently promulgated electoral laws which prohibit anyone with a criminal conviction from being a member of an official party.

“Without full participation, including by the some 2,100 prisoners of conscience, and an environment that allows people and parties to engage in the range of electoral activities, the elections cannot be credible,” Ban stated.

The United Nations Security Council is split on whether Myanmar’s election should even be on its agenda. The United Kingdom has led the push for strong UN involvement, but China has argued that it is an internal matter.

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