OUR BUSINESS:

UN stages rare Burma discussion (Susannah Price, 12/17/05, BBC)

The United Nations Security Council has held a rare discussion of Burma.

Council members heard a briefing from a senior UN official and held talks behind closed doors.

The UK ambassador to the UN said that despite disagreement over whether Burma was a threat to peace and security, all showed concern about the situation. […]

Denmark’s ambassador to the UN, Ellen Margrethe Loj, said the briefing was a clear signal that the world had not forgotten the suffering of Burma.

The United States and the United Kingdom, among others, have argued that Burma should be taken up by the Security Council because drugs trafficking and refugees make it a threat to international peace and security.

But other countries say its record is an internal issue.

As long as there’s an America, denial of God-given rights will never be an internal issue.

MORE:
Myanmar Back on U.N. Agenda: The Security Council discusses problems in the military-run Southeast Asian country after being prodded by the U.S. and Britain. (Maggie Farley, December 17, 2005, LA Times)

[D]iplomats said the United States and Britain argued in the closed-door meeting that conditions within the country destabilized the region, as refugees, drugs and slave labor flowed across its borders.

British Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry said that despite disagreement about whether those problems constitute an international threat, the meeting was an important first step. […]

Additional pressure to address Myanmar came from a September report commissioned by Desmond Tutu, another Nobel peace laureate, and former Czech President Vaclav Havel. […]

President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pressed Asian leaders for action during a recent trip to an economic summit in South Korea.

This week, the Assn. of Southeast Asian Nations authorized Malaysia’s foreign minister to visit Myanmar to push for “tangible results” in the country’s democratic reforms.

Myanmar has produced a seven-stage road map toward free elections and held a constitutional convention earlier this month, but without Suu Kyi’s opposition party.

One of the conditions imposed by China and like-minded countries was that the Security Council discussion of Myanmar be a one-time event.

Discussions regarding politically sensitive situations in Sudan and Zimbabwe faced similar resistance by China and Russia, which generally object to interference in a country’s internal affairs, as well as African countries.

But Britain and the U.S. slipped them onto the agenda, and now problems in both African countries are being addressed by the council.

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