Mon 19 Sep 2005
Filed under: International,News
Burma’s Foreign Minister Nyan Win made the country’s first address to the 60th UN General Assembly on Friday afternoon in New York, using the occasion to highlight the organization’s policy of non-interference in internal affairs.
Nyan Win-Rangoon’s sole representative in New York at the UN Summit-told gathered delegates: â€œWhile the United Nations must be reformed, its sacrosanct principles of national sovereignty, territorial integrity, equality, non-interference in internal affairs, settlement of disputes by peaceful means, and non-use of force or threat of use of force should remain inviolate.â€
The foreign minister’s comments echo those regularly featured in Burma’s state press. Rangoon has reportedly been fearful of UN and even US intervention recently, although China and Russia have previously vetoed attempts to address the Burma issue at the UN Security Council.
Nyan Win also commented on the junta’s efforts to realize the Millennium Development Goals, saying priority would be given to combating terrorism and transnational crime, tackling the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and nuclear arms, ensuring sustainable development, environmental protection and intensifying efforts to combat HIV/AIDS and bird flu.
In analysing Burma’s progress, Nyan Win told the General Assembly: â€œIn Myanmar [Burma], we are making satisfactory progress towards reaching the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.â€
The foreign minister’s analysis of Burma’s efforts towards achieving the development targets by 2015 contradict a recent assessment by the UN and the Asian Development Bank which found the country to be regressing in most areas including education, infant mortality, HIV/AIDS prevalence and environmental protection. The country was, however, found to be meeting targets on improving urban and rural sanitation.
Nyan Win’s speech was perhaps most notable for what was left out than what was actually said to the gathered representatives. The initial draft of the foreign minister’s address included comments referring to Global Fund’s recent decision to pull out of the country with the words: â€œIt isâ€¦ regrettable that with regard to my own country even in addressing the global challenge of HIV/AIDS there has been politicization.â€
The comments refer to accusations made against the US-and backed up by some UN representatives in Burma-that external pressure on UNDP was responsible for Global Fund’s decision to withdraw as well as recent restrictions the junta has imposed on humanitarian organizations operating in the country.
Similarly, a proposed statement on the UN’s mission to â€œreaffirm commitments to promote peace, security, social progress and betterment of life in larger freedomâ€ was excluded.
Nyan Win’s speech came in the last session of the General Assembly during last week’s official UN Summit program, although he has stayed in New York to fulfill other engagements.
The foreign minister on Sunday attended an Asian Cooperation Dialogue breakfast meeting at the UN’s headquarters. Chaired by Thailand’s Foreign Minister Kantathi Suphamongkhon, discussions focused on a proposed Asian bond market, energy security, natural disaster prevention, tourism and public health, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangkok said in a statement.
The meeting is expected to be the Burmese foreign minister’s penultimate multilateral event in New York ahead of a meeting of the G-77 group of developing countries gathering on Thursday. Burma’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs was today unable to confirm when Nyan Win would return to Rangoon.