November 8, 2007

The Burma Campaign UK today expressed deep disappointment that UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari has failed to achieve any significant breakthrough during his latest visit to Burma. The dictatorship is still refusing to enter into genuine negotiations, despite a United Nations Security Council statement calling on them to do so.

“The Security Council has asked the regime to enter negotiations, but they still haven’t done so. Now the Security Council must pass a binding resolution that forces them to enter negotiations,” said Zoya Phan, Campaigns Officer at Burma Campaign UK. “The regime is trying to buy time, keep delaying and hope that crises in other parts of the world divert the world’s attention.”

The Burma Campaign UK dismissed as ‘UN spin’ claims that progress had been made during Gambari’s visit. In 2001 a UN led initiative to broker talks made greater progress than the current UN effort. On that occasion the regime released Aung San Suu Kyi and promised that there would be talks, but again they only talked about talks. The current initiative hasn’t even got the situation back to the level of progress made in 2001.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s statement does not represent a shift in policy. The National League for Democracy has always said they are willing to enter into talks, and to compromise. The problem is that the regime refuses to negotiate.

“There will be progress when talks start, but so far we still only have talks about talks,” said Zoya Phan. “We have been here before several times, and in the past the regime has reneged on every undertaking it has given. Democracy activists are still being arrested and tortured, they are still attacking and killing civilians in ethnic areas, the situation is still deteriorating.”

The Burma Campaign UK also called on the European Union to move swiftly to implement stronger sanctions against the regime.  Three weeks after EU foreign ministers agreed a ban on the imports of gems and timber from Burma, the ban has still not been implemented.  As the regime is still refusing to enter into genuine talks, EU foreign ministers must also go ahead and implement the investment ban agreed in principle at their last meeting. EU Ministers next meet on 19th November.
For more information contact the Burma Campaign UK on 020 7234 4710.


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