UN head admits ‘frustration’ towards elections

The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon in a press conference on Monday admitted feeling frustrated with the military government and warned that controversial upcoming elections could be a ‘lost opportunity’.

The former South Korean Foreign minister was quoted by Reuters saying that; “It is a source of frustration … that Myanmar [Burma] has been unresponsive so far to these efforts [of engagement]”…”A lack of cooperation at this critical moment represents nothing less than a lost opportunity for Myanmar [Burma].”

With no announcement of an official election date but time swiftly running out Ban told his monthly press conference in New York that they were; “deploying every effort to continue to engage with the authorities [in Burma]”.

In the press conference he also stated his belief that the election laws were designed to ensure that a pro military party wins the first polls since 1991, that eventually elected the now imprisoned Nobel laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

Ban Ki-moon however recently came under heavy criticism from an outgoing senior colleague.

After leaving her post as chief of the UN’s anti-corruption agency, the Office of Internal Oversight (UNOIOS) Inga-Britt Ahleniusas said; “We [the UN] seem to be seen less and less as a relevant partner in the resolution of world problems,” questioning the UN’s; “capacity to protect civilians in conflict and distress…What relevance do we have in disarmament, in Myanmar [Burma], Darfur, Afghanistan, Cyprus, G20…?”

Meanwhile his specific record on Burma has also been called into question. His former envoy to Burma Ibrahim Gambari who served as foreign minister between 1984 and 1985 under the dictatorship of Mahmadu Buhari in his native Nigeria was famed for stating that Nigerians didn’t need democracy and that activist Ken Saro Wiwa, who was later murdered by the military government of Sani Abacha was a ‘common criminal’; needless to say, he made no inroads with the Burmese military dictators.

In 2004, shortly before Ban accepted the role of UN Secretary General in his capacity as South Korean Foreign Minister he visited India, here he described South Korea’s largest overseas infrastructure project the controversial Shwe Gas Pipeline as a “Win, win situation”  in the equation he is not believed to have factored in the people who live under that ‘frustrating’ military government where the pipeline will run.

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