Govt Says UN under Pressure over Myanmar

LEGIAN/JAKARTA ~ The UN Security Council is under “growing pressure” to act against Myanmar’s military regime unless it takes more credible steps toward democracy, Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda said.

Wirayuda said Myanmar’s partners in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) were consulting with Security Council member China and other countries to try to nudge the junta toward genuine democratic reform.

“There’s growing pressure to bring the Myanmar case back to the UN Security Council. So we are not sitting quietly. We are doing what we can do to help … ensure a more credible process,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

“This is a difficult issue … and I don’t expect much that there will be a big change in Myanmar.”

Indonesia is a non-permanent member of the Security Council and a founding member of ASEAN. China has good relations with Myanmar’s junta and has blocked previous US-led calls for UN sanctions.

The United States, the European Union and Australia slapped tougher sanctions on Myanmar’s military regime in the wake of the bloody suppression of pro-democracy protests in September last year.

Washington warned Myanmar’s military rulers last month that they must cooperate with UN mediator Ibrahim Gambari or face increased pressure from the council.

Gambari was expected to meet Myanmar’s detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon on Wednesday, sources in her National League for Democracy party said.

Gambari is on a mission to relaunch talks between the detained Nobel peace prize winner and the military, which has ruled Myanmar since 1962 and refuses to recognize her landslide victory in 1990 elections.

The generals plan to hold elections in 2010 under a new constitution which bars Aung San Suu Kyi from running for office and gives the military broad powers to intervene in government.

“Myanmar claims to have a new constitution and these elections will be multi-party elections, but what is important for us at ASEAN is to ensure that a more credible process is taking place,” Wirajuda said.

He said the elections and the “follow-up transfer of power” in 2010 had to be “acceptable to the international community.”

Aung San Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for most of the past 18 years.

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