26 September 2007 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced today he is sending, Ibrahim Gambari, his Special Envoy dealing with Myanmar to the region in response to the deteriorating situation in the Asian nation, and once again urged authorities there to respond to the ongoing peaceful protests with the utmost restraint.
Noting reports of the use of force and of arrests and beatings, Mr. Ban called again on authorities “to exercise utmost restraint toward the peaceful demonstrations taking place, as such action can only undermine the prospects for peace, prosperity and stability in Myanmar,” in a statement issued by his spokesperson.
While Myanmar’s Government has not yet accepted Mr. Gambari’s mission, UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters in New York that “he will stay in the region, and as soon as he gets the green light he will proceed.”
After Mr. Gambari briefed the Security Council this afternoon on the latest developments, Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert of France – which holds the rotating Council presidency this month – issued a press statement voicing members’ strong support for Mr. Gambari’s visit and underlining the need for the envoy to be received by authorities as soon as possible.
The demonstrations began last month to protest against a surge in fuel prices. More recently, the protests have swelled and included many of the country’s monks Two members of the National League for Democracy, the party led by pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, were also arrested overnight.
There were also reports of raids in the north-east of the country.
The arrests come a day after five people were reported to have been killed when police broke up protests by monks and civilians. The military government has confirmed one death.
There are no indications yet that the military government is ready to listen to the many calls for restraint being made around the world. China and Russia have argued the situation in Burma is a purely internal matter. Both vetoed a UN resolution critical of Burma’s rulers in January.
Analysts fear a repeat of the violence in 1988, when troops opened fire on unarmed protesters, killing thousands.