Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Dermot Ahern, T.D., Meets with Dr Sein Win Prime Minister-in exile of Burma -Discussions Focus on Way forward for Burma
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Dermot Ahern, T.D., met today in Dublin with Dr. Sein Win, Prime Minister-in-exile of the Union of Burma, Dr. Thaung Htun, also from the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB), and the Chairperson and representatives of Burma Action Ireland.
Dr Sein Win thanked the Minister for Ireland’s and the Minister’s recent actions in support of the people of Burma and of democratic change in Burma. He acknowledged Ireland’s continuing principled stand internationally and Irish Aid support for human rights and democratisation in Burma, particularly in support of Burmese refugees in Thailand.
Minister Ahern expressed the Government’s deep concern at the ongoing human rights situation in Burma and stated Ireland’s strong commitment to supporting political change, peaceful reconciliation and respect for human rights in Burma.
“The Government is appalled by the actions of the Burmese regime in violently putting down peaceful protests, and the ongoing intimidation, beatings and arbitrary arrests that seek to frustrate the real will of the people of Burma. I am deeply concerned by the detention of thousands of protesters including Buddhist monks and nuns, and children. I urgently call for the release of all detainees and political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi. I believe, however, that out of the appalling events which took place last month, a real window of opportunity now exists to advance the cause of democracy and freedom in Burma. There is an urgent need to get a process of genuine national dialogue and reconciliation underway and, in this, the role of the UN Secretary General’s special envoy, Dr Gambari, and continuing pressure from Burma’s neighbours, will be crucial. I also welcome the fact that the Burmese regime has finally, after four years, agreed to accept a visit by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, and very much hope that he is given the fullest possible cooperation and access. At the same time the Burmese regime must cooperate fully with the International Committee of the Red Cross and lift restrictions on its important humanitarian work.
Ireland fully supports the role of UN Special Envoy, Dr Gambari. We will continue to work with all partners, including within the EU and UN, and with those countries which wield influence with the Burmese regime, to encourage positive change in Burma.
My Department will continue to remain in close touch with the NCGUB and with Burma Action Ireland, who have played such an important role in ensuring the awful human rights situation in Burma is kept very much on the agenda.
In response to an expression of interest by Dr Sein Win in learning more about the Northern Ireland peace process, I undertook to work with the NCGUB and others in Burma to share the lessons and experiences gained from that process.”
Note for Editors:
The National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB) was formed in December 1990 in response to the military regime’s refusal to hand over power in the wake of the National League for Democracy’s election victory. Led by Dr Sein Win, the NCGUB classifies itself as a government-in-exile. Its founding resolutions seek to:
· Establish a legitimate Government in Burma with the support of elected representatives,
· Establish contacts with the Democratic Alliance of Burma (DAB), the All Burma Students' Democratic Front (ABSDF), and other revolutionary forces, to seek their assistance in setting up a legitimate Government in the liberated area, and
· Seek diplomatic and other forms of support from the international community.
The two NCGUB representatives were in Ireland at the invitation of Burma Action Ireland (BAI), set up in May 1996 to raise awareness of the situation in Burma.
25 October 2007