You probably know that France requested the consultation meeting of the Council this afternoon. This is a request that is made following the verdict which was rendered against Aung San Suu Kyi by court in Burma.
The French authorities have strongly condemned this verdict. We note that the result of this procedure is that Aung San Suu Kyi will not be able to participate in the political process and the electoral process that is due to take place in Burma next year. Indeed, one can only wonder if that whole process directed against Aung San Suu Kyi was not precisely aimed at preventing her from that participation. So beyond the person, beyond the individual, there is the whole issue of the credibility of the electoral process in Burma.
It has been our longstanding position, but also one of the Secretary General, that if there is to be an inclusive and fair electoral process in Burma, it cannot be without the participation of all relevant political players, particularly Aung San Suu Kyi. That is why we think there has to be a reaction by the Security Council. The verdict is in clear violation and breach of the request made by the Security Council. You remember that the Security Council has called for the release of all political prisoners. It has also called for an inclusive electoral process in Burma. Clearly the verdict goes against these requirements.
The draft statement has been circulated by the US delegation. We support that initiative, we support that draft. Some members of the Council have asked for some time to communicate this draft to their capital, and we respect that. But it is our firm position that there has to be a speedy and firm reaction of the Security Council. Thank you very much.
Q : (inaudible)
A : We have begun the discussion today. As I said, some of the members have requested to put this draft back to their capitals. This is their right, we respect that, but at the same time there has to be an urgent reaction by the Council and we will work towards that objective.
Q : (inaudible)... China and Russia the countries that have asked for more time ?
A : Well I think you have to ask them, and I don’t want to name names. I mean everybody pretty much knows the dynamic within the Council, but we are in the midst of a discussion now and, as I said, we will do our best to try and achieve the kind of outcome that we are looking for.
Q : (inaudible)…sanctions at the EU level ?
A : You’ve heard the statement by our President, and also Foreign Minister Kouchner. Also the Presidency of the EU has expressed itself in that regard. This is something that obviously will be pursued within the European Union. But you are right, our President, President Sarkozy, and Foreign Minister Kouchner have made it clear that they will request additional sanctions - not targeted at the civilian population, targeted at the regime. This is something that will be considered in the relevant fora in the EU.