U.S. steps up pressure on Myanmar with approval for Security Council briefing | VailDaily.com

U.S. steps up pressure on Myanmar with approval for Security Council briefing

UNITED NATIONS – The United States stepped up pressure on Myanmar’s military junta, winning approval Friday for a U.N. Security Council briefing on the latest situation in the country which Washington accuses of detaining political opponents and violating human rights.When the United States last attempted to get the council to discuss Myanmar in June, it failed to get enough support from members. But on Friday the council agreed to hold a one-off briefing at a closed meeting in the next few weeks, which the U.S. wants Secretary-General Kofi Annan to deliver to demonstrate the importance of the issue.But Myanmar will not go on the Security Council agenda for further action, in a compromise between countries that believe Myanmar poses a growing threat to international peace and security, led by the United States, and nations that see no immediate threat including Russia, China, Japan, Algeria and Brazil.U.S. Ambassador John Bolton indicated that he saw the upcoming briefing as a step toward getting Myanmar on the council’s agenda, which would subject the country to regular international scrutiny and possibly other measures. But Washington would face strong opposition from China and Russia, which have veto power, as well as Japan, the Philippines, Algeria, Brazil and others.”As one of my mentors always used to say, keep your eyes on the prize,” Bolton said.Bolton requested the briefing in a letter to the council president on Tuesday – two days after the military government extended the house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi, which began in May 2003.The junta took power in 1988 after violently suppressing mass pro-democracy protests. It held a general election in 1990, but refused to recognize the results after a landslide victory by Suu Kyi’s party. The Nobel Peace Prize winner, who has spent 10 of the last 16 years in detention, is among some 1,100 political prisoners.Last week, a key General Assembly committee approved a resolution condemning human rights violations in Myanmar.”There are several aspects of Burmese policy that adversely affect international peace and security, and we think that makes it appropriate for the Security Council to consider,” Bolton said Friday.In his letter, Bolton said Myanmar warrants council action because of the potential destabilization from its international narcotics trafficking, human rights practices, and internal repression which has led many of its people to flee the country.Bolton also cited press reports that Burmese authorities are seeking nuclear power capabilities and accused the military regime of destroying villages, targeting ethnic minorities, and forcing people to relocate.Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Andrey Denisov, said Russia agreed with “all Asian members of the Security Council that with all the troubles, with all the problems we do have in Myanmar, there is … no immediate threat, to both international and regional peace and security,” he said.China’s deputy U.N. ambassador Zhang Yishan echoed Denisov’s comments.”It’s a private briefing – so no follow-up, no resolution, nothing, just one case,” he said.Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry disagreed.”The present situation in Myanmar – the restrictions and measures taken in the last week – just accentuate the need to do something about the human rights situation, about the political developments.” he said.Vail, Colorado

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