Friday, October 5

Brilliant! First tie ASEAN's hands, then let them take the lead on helping Burma "achieve democracy."

Wonderful gobbledygook language from China and Russia in the following AP report filed today.

Not to be argumentative with Beijing but isn't Darfur also an internal matter? I seem to recall China deploying soldiers to assist peacekeeping forces in Sudan. Ah well, there is no fathoming gobbledygook:
China and Russia ruled out any Security Council action on Myanmar but gave strong backing to efforts by U.N. envoy Ibrahim Gambari to help promote national reconciliation and moves toward democracy in the military-ruled Southeast Asian nation. [...]

[UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon] told reporters Wednesday that he could not view Gambari's mission as "a success" and said he wanted to discuss possible Security Council action at Friday's meeting.

China's U.N. Ambassador Wang Guangya said the best action the Security Council can take — and has taken — "is to support the secretary-general's initiative and support ambassador Gambari's mission."

The international community, Myanmar's neighbors and China "want to see that country achieve stability and achieve democracy, achieve good governance, achieve a better way of life for its people," Wang said.

But the solution has to come from negotiations between the government and the different parties, he stressed.

"No international imposed solution can help the situation," Wang said, but engaging with the Myanmar authorities and providing constructive advice is important and that's why Gambari's efforts should be supported. [...]

China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao on Thursday praised Gambari's meeting with Than Shwe and appealed to all parties in the country to remain calm and resume stability "as soon as possible."

"The Chinese side wishes that the situation will further develop in a positive direction," he said.

Several Security Council diplomats privately criticized China's statement, however, for focusing on restoring calm and ignoring the deaths and continuing mass arrests and detention of thousands of protest supporters.

Asked why there was no mention of the detentions and deaths, China's Wang stressed the meetings between Gambari and senior Myanmar leaders, and between Gambari and Suu Kyi, praising the "good efforts" by the U.N. envoy and the government to have the exchange of views.

"And also, I think, we have a concern," Wang said. "We want the government there to handle this issue with great care, so I think this implies many things."

"There (is a) crisis, but this does not constitute (a) threat ... to the region and international peace and security. Therefore, we think that ... this issue does not belong to the Security Council. ... These problems still we believe are basically internal," he said.

Russia's deputy U.N. ambassador Konstantin Dolgov echoed China's view saying "it's not for the Security Council to lead on this matter."

"We don't think that there is a situation of threat to international peace and security at this point in time, but, of course, regional action is very important to prevent that," he said, strongly backing efforts by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to promote a solution.

In January, China and Russia cast a rare double veto on a U.S.-sponsored resolution calling on Myanmar's military government to release all political prisoners, speed up progress toward democracy and stop attacks against ethnic minorities.

Russia and China initially demanded that Friday's could meeting be closed but they relented during closed consultations Thursday and agreed to an open briefing by Gambari.

Ghana's U.N. Ambassador Leslie Christian, the current council president, said Ban and all 15 council members will also speak publicly. Myanmar and Singapore, as the current ASEAN head, will be allowed to address the council as well if they want. Then, the council will hold closed consultations, he said.

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