Issue 126 – March 2 - Secretariat Satisfied with “Good Offices” Role for Burma, No Immediate Plans to Appoint Special Envoy

New York, March 2, 2010 - The spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has indicated that the current arrangements for addressing issues in Burma/Myanmar are adequate and that no search for a new Special Envoy is being conducted.

The former Special Envoy, Mr. Ibrahim Gambari, took up a new role as the Joint African Union-United Nations Special Representative in the peacekeeping operation in Darfur (UNAMID) in January, leaving the Burma role to Ban's Chef de Cabinet, Mr. Vijay Nambiar, under the auspices of the Secretary-General's "good offices."

At the time of Gambari's job change, the Secretariat indicated that the "good offices" arrangement was temporary, pending the appointment of a new Special Envoy. However, when questioned on Friday, February 26, Ban's spokesperson implied that no search was underway.

Secretariat's Comments about Burma/Myanmar Special Envoy Appointments

Topic

Spokesperson's comments on January 6

Spokesperson's comments on February 26

Secretary-General's coverage of Burma issues, including relationship between UN and authorities

These issues come under the Secretary-General's "good offices." They are being overseen by Mr. Nambiar, Ban's chief of staff. This arrangement is for the period "in between appointments."

"[I]t's a Secretary-General's good offices role. At the moment, the Chef de Cabinet has that role to oversee the good offices. Clearly, it's not simply down to Mr. Nambiar, the Chef de Cabinet.... [T]here are people who work full time on this and are able to advise him and to keep him up to speed and up to date on what is happening. And that's exactly what happened in the early hours of this morning when the appeal [for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's release from house arrest] was rejected. We were mobilized in the middle of the night, and the statement that you have is a result of that."

Intention for office

"We're in a kind of transition phase between Ibrahim Gambari and whoever is then subsequently appointed."

Q: "[W]ith regards to Nambiar bearing the good offices role; is that sort of an interim status or is that basically the way it's just going be from now on?"

A: "...The Secretary-General is clearly very comfortable with the way that it is being handled.... So, I think that that mechanism is working effectively from the United Nations perspective, and from the Secretary-General's perspective."

Q: But there is no intention to actually appoint someone to replace Mr. Gambari?

A: Where we are is where we are at the moment. And if that changes, I'll let you know.

Timeline

 "The Secretary-General is looking forward to appointing a successor to Ibrahim Gambari in due course."

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