Thursday, October 4, 2007

UN Delivers "Strongly Worded Message"

Sticks and stone might break their bones but strongly worded messages will do little to dislodge the likes of the Myanmar Junta. In fact I think the John Lennonesque notion of how to deal with their ilk should be replaced with a more Churchillian approach. But that's just my opinion.

UN chief says 'strong message' delivered to Myanmar rulers

UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday said his special envoy Ibrahim Gambari delivered a 'strong message' to Myanmar military rulers about their crackdown on pro-democracy protests and would brief him shortly on his mission.

'Mr. Gambari has delivered a strong message from me personally (to Myanmar's ruling junta),' Ban told reporters. 'We are now awaiting his return, and I am going to be briefed by him tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon' before deciding on the next course of action.

'The concerns of the international community have been clearly and loudly conveyed to the Myanmar authorities,' the UN secretary general said.

Ban said Gambari was assured during his four-day mission -- he met with Myanmar's ruling generals and detained democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi -- that he would be able to make a return visit in November.

The UN chief said he would consult with members of the 15-member Security Council Friday to weigh the international community's next step. Gambari was also to brief the council on his four-day mission Friday, UN officials said.

Ban was also asked to react to the arrest of a local UN worker in Yangon and three of her family members.

'I am going to do whatever I can to, first of all, address this issue (and) the overall human rights situation in Myanmar,' he replied.

Back in Myanmar, the military junta kept up the pressure on its people Wednesday after last week's bloody crackdown on protesters.

Troops who last week killed at least 13 and arrested over 1,000 people to suppress the largest pro-democracy protests in nearly 20 years have continued overnight arrests and mounted patrols to strike terror into the population.

The protests first erupted in mid-August after a massive hike in the price of fuel, but escalated two weeks ago when Buddhist monks emerged to lead the movement, drawing up to 100,000 people onto the streets.