Ban Ki Moon:Bangkok, Thailand, 4 July 2009 – Press encounter following departure from Myanmar

SG: Good evening. Thank you for coming to meet me at this late hour of the day.

As you know, I have just come from a two-day visit to Myanmar. I met twice the Senior General Than Shwe, and I had discussions with other government officials.

I also met with leaders of Myanmar’s registered political parties and with those former armed groups that have chosen to observe a cease-fire.

This morning I also had time to visit Kyon Da Village in the Irrawaddy Delta to see the results of recovery and reconstruction work.

Let me first address my meetings with Senior General Than Shwe.

As you know by now, I asked to meet with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

I am deeply disappointed that Senior General Than Shwe refused my request. Allowing a visit to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi would have been an important symbol of the government’s willingness to embark on the kind of meaningful engagement that will be essential if the elections in 2010 are to be seen as credible.

I believe the Government of Myanmar failed to take a unique opportunity to show its commitment to a new era of political openness.

Nonetheless, my visit has enabled me to convey the concerns of the international community very frankly and directly to Senior General Than Shwe and his Government.

My meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi, however, should not be seen as the only benchmark for success or failure of my visit. Because I believe that there are many more fundamental issues which we addressed, during the visit, which [will] help move Myanmar forward.

The members of the international community wanted me to tell Myanmar’s leaders that the international community stands ready to help the people of Myanmar achieve their legitimate aspirations.

This is why I went to Myanmar, and this is what we did.

I told Senior General Than Shwe that the international community wants to help Myanmar to achieve democracy, national reconciliation, durable peace and sustainable development.

And I emphasized that neither peace nor development can thrive without democracy and respect for human rights.

I outlined my proposals for progress.

I told Senior General Than Shwe that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners should be released without delay and allowed to participate freely in the political process. Continue reading “Ban Ki Moon:Bangkok, Thailand, 4 July 2009 – Press encounter following departure from Myanmar”