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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07SINGAPORE1983
2007-10-30 10:12:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Singapore
Cable title:  

GAMBARI READY TO GO TO BURMA; SEEKS U.S.

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  PHUM  SN  BU  ASEAN 
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VZCZCXRO2742
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHGH RUEHHM RUEHNH RUEHVC
DE RUEHGP #1983/01 3031012
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 301012Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4323
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI IMMEDIATE 1852
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO IMMEDIATE 5736
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 0104
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 SINGAPORE 001983 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

EAP/MLS FOR AARON COPE
EAP/MTS FOR MICHAEL TAYLOR

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/30/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM SN BU ASEAN
SUBJECT: GAMBARI READY TO GO TO BURMA; SEEKS U.S.
"UNDERSTANDING"

REF: A. BEIJING 6851


B. JAKARTA 2946

Classified By: Ambassador Patricia L. Herbold, reason 1.4 (b) and (d).

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 SINGAPORE 001983

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

EAP/MLS FOR AARON COPE
EAP/MTS FOR MICHAEL TAYLOR

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/30/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM SN BU ASEAN
SUBJECT: GAMBARI READY TO GO TO BURMA; SEEKS U.S.
"UNDERSTANDING"

REF: A. BEIJING 6851


B. JAKARTA 2946

Classified By: Ambassador Patricia L. Herbold, reason 1.4 (b) and (d).


1. (C) Summary: The Ambassador sought a detailed readout of
UN Special Advisor Gambari's regional consultations on Burma
on October 30 and pressed him to work for specific modalities
and outcomes during his early November visit to Burma.
Gambari said his consultations had helped "bridge the gap"
between Singapore and other ASEAN countries in their stance
on Burma and had increased pressure on China and India to be
more helpful. Meanwhile, UN SYG Ban Ki-moon was pushing
Burma to allow Gambari full access and control over his visit
schedule. Gambari said he hoped to "kick-start" a genuine
dialogue between the regime and its opponents, would seek a
UN role in the dialogue, and would report to the UN Security
Council (UNSC) upon his return to New York. Gambari
requested that the USG show "understanding" for the
importance of his regional consultations and the SYG's
efforts to gain his early return to Burma and avoid
characterizing this as a "make or break" visit to Burma. End
Summary.


2. (C) UN Special Advisor on Burma Ibrahim Gambari initiated
a meeting with the Ambassador on October 30 and briefed on
his consultations over the past two weeks in seven regional
countries, including Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia,
Indonesia, India, China and Japan. Gambari is in Singapore
waiting for permission to return to Burma to continue his
"good offices" mission on behalf of UN SYG Ban Ki-moon, which
he hopes will be granted within days. Gambari said that his
consultations had helped "bridge a gap" between Singapore and
other ASEAN members over how forceful the organization's
stance on Burma should be and had put pressure on China and
India to be more helpful in engaging the regime. He argued
that ASEAN and China had come a long way in recent weeks in

their approaches to Burma.

Pushing for a Productive Visit
--------------


3. (C) Noting the need to maintain momentum and press the
regime to end its violent crackdown, the Ambassador asked
about the status of Gambari's planned visit to Burma. She
stressed the importance of Gambari's having control over his
schedule and access to all concerned parties, and of allowing
Aung San Suu Kyi (ASSK) and Burma's opposition to judge
whether progress was being made before there were any public
statements to that effect from outside parties. The
Ambassador also urged Gambari to press the regime to allow
international humanitarian organizations access to detainees.
She asked whether regional actors would be willing to go
beyond strong public statements if Burma continued to refuse
to change in spite of Gambari's efforts.


4. (C) UN SYG Ban had been doing everything possible to gain
Gambari's early entry to Burma, Gambari told the Ambassador.
The Burmese had agreed to move the visit up to the first week
of November, but had still not provided a specific date,
though he hoped permission might be granted as early as
November 1. He said the SYG had been pressing the regime to
allow Gambari full access to all relevant parties, control
over his schedule, and the freedom to stay in Burma as long
as he felt necessary. He recalled that the regime had agreed
in principle to his requests during his last visit for
International Committee of the Red Cross access to detainees,
permission for a return of Human Rights Rapporteur Pinheiro,
and the appointment of a regime liaison to ASSK and the
opposition. There had been indications of progress on all
fronts, including the appointment and initial meeting with
ASSK of the designated liaison (and newly appointed Labor
Minister) Aung Kyi.

The Gameplan
--------------


5. (C) Gambari said he had never met Aung Kyi but had heard
favorable reviews of his handling of Burma's dispute with the
International Labor Organization, during which he seemed
pragmatic, serious and influential with regime leaders. He
hoped to meet Aung Kyi to discuss the scope of discussions

SINGAPORE 00001983 002 OF 003


and press for a UN role. Noting the severe hardship and
constraints under which ASSK operates, Gambari said it was
"not fair" that ASSK should have to face the regime alone.
He would report ASSK's assessment of the situation to the
UNSC upon his return to New York. Commenting on ASSK's
situation during his recent visit, Gambari said she was
clearly in better health than during his last previous visit
last November. He said she remains "unbroken" and determined
to play a leadership role in Burma's transition.


6. (C) Gambari was unsure what additional steps regional
actors might be willing to take if his visit did not produce
concrete results. He noted that as a "good offices" mission
without a UNSC mandate, his influence is limited.
Nevertheless, he was encouraged by his regional
consultations. While the regime is accustomed to isolation,
it is deeply concerned about the views of the UNSC, China and
India. Gambari thought China genuinely wanted to see
progress before his next report to the UNSC. Upon returning
to New York, he looked forward to convening a proposed Burma
Core Group, to include the P-5 countries, Japan, India,
Singapore (as ASEAN Chair), and Norway. (Note: Gambari added
that he is flexible concerning a possible EU role in the Core
Group, but that he does not want the Core Group to be "too
big." End note.) He thought the United States could help
within the Core Group by "leaning on" China and India. ,

Seeking U.S. "Understanding"
--------------


7. (C) Gambari said he had two specific requests for the USG:
first, he asked that Washington "show understanding" for the
importance the UN SYG attaches to Gambari's consultations
throughout the region and for the SYG's efforts to gain
Gambari's early entry to Burma. Second, he asked that the
USG not characterize this as a "make or break" visit.
Realistically, it would have to be part of a longer process
in which initiating a genuine dialogue was a crucial first
step.


8. (C) Gambari indicated the United States, particularly
through the proposed Core Group, could help by encouraging
China, India and ASEAN to send strong messages to Burma and
not just "hide behind" the SYG good offices mission. He also
suggested the USG should consider direct talks with the
regime, which he described as almost totally isolated and
likely to benefit from hearing our frank views. Gambari said
China had reiterated its willingness to facilitate such
talks.

Regional Consultations
--------------


9. (C) Gambari indicated that, at Singapore's request, he had
pressed Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia to take a stronger
position on Burma in the run-up to the ASEAN summit meetings
here in mid-November. Gaps had appeared after Singapore, as
ASEAN Chairman, issued an unusually strong statement on Burma
during an ASEAN Foreign Minister's meeting in New York last
month. Gambari said he had urged his ASEAN interlocutors to
remain firm, reminding them that the international community
had warmly welcomed the strong ASEAN statement. Among the
more developed ASEAN countries, Gambari characterized
Thailand as the "weak link" on Burma, but said it was
important also to keep pressing Indonesia and Malaysia. He
said he would try to visit Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia before
the end of the year.


10. (C) Gambari said he had been encouraged by his visits to
New Delhi and Beijing. His meeting with Indian Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh had produced the first public
expression of Indian support for the SYG's good offices
mission and private assurances that India would "send the
right message" to Burma on the need for tangible results.
Gambari's meetings in Beijing had produced public statements
from State Councilor Tang that: affirmed that the status quo
ante in Burma was not sustainable; urged the regime to
respond to the legitimate demands of the Burmese people;
encouraged steps toward (qualified) democracy; and supported
the UN SYG's good offices mission, including an offer to help
with technical details. Gambari argued that, along with
China's support for the UNSC presidential statement and other

SINGAPORE 00001983 003 OF 003


UN efforts on Burma, this demonstrated a significant
evolution in China's position on Burma.

Carrots and Sticks
--------------


11. (C) Gambari summarized the themes he had heard during his
regional consultations. First, there is "coolness" toward
the idea of sanctions. He argued that this does not mean
there is no willingness to apply pressure, but rather that a
combination of "carrots and sticks" is seen as more likely to
succeed. He said his interlocutors supported a "time-bound,"
serious dialogue that should include a discussion of what the
international community can do to help the people of Burma.
Second, all voiced support for the SYG's good offices
mission. Third, Gambari's consultations showed no support
for alternative diplomatic structures, such as the Thai
proposal for a contact group modeled on the six-party talks,
which he said would allow the Burmese to "pick and choose"
their interlocutors.


12. (C) Gambari said he had responded to expressions of
support by indicating what kind of support he needed. First,
countries should send clear messages to Burma that it must
cooperate with his efforts in "concrete detail," such as by
starting a genuine dialogue with the opposition, ending the
violent crackdown, addressing economic hardship, and freeing
political prisoners including Aung San Suu Kyi (ASSK), and
they should monitor the regime's compliance. Second,
countries should support "enhancing the capacity" of his
mission with additional staff, particularly if the UN is
given a role in a dialogue between the regime and its
opposition. Gambari said he also asked for support for a
Burma Core Group.

Visit Embassy Singapore's Classified website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/singapore/ind ex.cfm
HERBOLD