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Nava Thakuria
The United Nations Secretary-General Ben-Ki-moon is looking forward to meet the newly elected Burmese President Thein Sein. The special adviser to the Secretary-General (for Burma), Vijay Nambiar while disclosing it in a statement issued at Rangoon on November 4, 2011 stated that Ben-Ki-moon expects to meet Thein Sein on the margins of the fourth UN-ASEAN Summit later this month.

Soon after his completion of a five-day visit to Burma, Nambiar argued that ‘the release of the remaining political prisoners as part of the recent amnesty process and the enactment of the proposed amendments to the political party registration law is steps that can and should be taken as a matter of priority’.

“Continuous dialogue is also needed to bring about peace and development in border areas. If sustained, these and other efforts offer a historic opportunity to set the country on a course than can fulfill the promises made to the people of Myanmar (Burma),”said Nambiar, who had finished his third visit to Burma at the invitation of the Burmese government since last year’s election.

The United Nations strongly encourages the continuation of such efforts as the best way to strengthen domestic and international confidence in Burma’s commitment to a reform process that is incremental, systematic and sustainable. In particular, we encourage all concerned to build on the steps taken thus far through an inclusive and broad-based political process to strengthen national unity, he added.

During his visit the UN official also met Daw Aung San Suu Kyi at her residence in Rangoon. He also met with representatives of other political parties, and with civil society organizations, as well as with the National Human Rights Commission.

“In Naypyitaw, I was received by Vice-President U Tin Aung Myint Oo, the Speaker of the Upper House U Khin Aung Myint, the Minister for Foreign Affairs U Wunna Maung Lwin, and the Minister of Social Welfare and Labour U Aung Kyi. I also met with the Union Peacemaking Group and with the Union Election Commission. In Mandalay and in Pathein, I was received by the Chief Ministers of Mandalay region and Irrawaddy region, respectively,” the statement narrated.

It also added, “An important purpose of my visit was to directly relay to the Myanmar leadership and other stakeholders the Secretary-General’s encouragement of the important steps taken in recent months to advance the reform agenda led by President Thein Sein, as well as the significant efforts made by all concerned to advance national dialogue and reconciliation. At this juncture, it is of crucial importance, for Myanmar’s regional and global standing, to maintain the positive momentum that these initiatives have generated.“

The UN official also highlighted that the UNDP projects were ‘clear evidence of the potential there is for doing more to better address critical needs’. In order to do so more effectively and evenly across the country’s regions and states – especially in the areas of poverty alleviation, primary health care and education – and to contribute to the reform efforts, it is important that relevant mandates of the UN funds and programmes are maximized and restrictions removed.

Nambiar concluded saying that his visit was ‘a signal of the importance the Secretary-General and the United Nations attach to the need for international understanding, encouragement and support to Myanmar’s transition’.

“The Government’s reform agenda offers an unprecedented opportunity for greater mutual understanding between Myanmar and the international community, and for Myanmar and the UN to work together. Looking forward, the UN will continue to apply its Good Offices to strengthen our partnership with Myanmar,” summarized the statement.
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