Monday, May 25, 2009

China and Russia veto ‘denies’ Burma progress

(DVB)–China and Russia’s power of veto in the United Nations Security Council has impeded pressure on progress towards democracy in Burma, said an exiled government official reacting to a UN statement on Burma last week.

On Thursday the UN Security Council (UNSG) released a press statement “expressing concern about the political impact of recent developments relating to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi”.

The statement was read out by the current UNSG president, Vitaly Churkin of Russia.

Russia currently holds the revolving chair of the UNSG.

Critics of the Burmese government, who hold close ties with Russia, have said that the statement is rhetorically too soft in its demand for Suu Kyi’s release.

“We all have seen Russia, throughout time, clinging onto a belief that human rights violations and other issues about Burma are not the Security Council’s concern,” said Dr Thaung Htun, National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma’s (NCGUB) representative to the UN.

The NCGUB is coalition of Burmese political parties, including Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, based in the United States.

“Our…agenda regarding Burma is not reaching point it is supposed to due to denial by China and Russia; the two nations that hold veto power whenever it comes to that,” he said.

China, a key trading partner with Burma and widely regarded as the ruling junta’s closest ally, has so far refused to intervene in the Suu Kyi trial.

“[Burma’s] issue should be decided by the people of [Burma],” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu last week.

Thaung Htun added that he was still waiting for the UNSG to come up with a “solid decision” regarding Suu Kyi’s trial.

Reporting by Htet Aung Kyaw

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