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Cablegate: Gambari's First Day

VZCZCXRO2877
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH RUEHTRO
DE RUEHGO #0668 2310934
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 180934Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY RANGOON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8073
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1467
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 4964
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 8549
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 6118
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 3987
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1950
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

UNCLAS RANGOON 000668

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP AND IO; PACOM FOR FPA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM BM
SUBJECT: GAMBARI'S FIRST DAY

1. (SBU) Summary. In a short meeting with the diplomatic
corps on August 18, his first day in country, UN Special
Envoy Gambari said he hoped to build on the opening created
by Cyclone Nargis to broaden cooperation with the GOB on
political and socio-economic issues. Diplomatic
representatives, including Charge, cited a complete lack of
progress toward democracy and reconciliation and emphasized
the need for Gambari to press for the release of political
prisoners and for genuine dialogue with democratic and ethnic
groups. Gambari reported that he had already met with the
Foreign Minister and would meet with the Tripartite Core
Group and the International Committee of the Red Cross the
same day, but acknowledged the rest of his program for the
five-day visit was not set. Gambari did not discuss his
meeting requests to the regime other than to note he hoped to
meet again with Aung San Suu Kyi. End Summary.

2. (SBU) In a short, largely set-piece meeting with the
diplomatic corps on August 18, his first day in country, UN
Special Envoy Gambari reported that the primary objective of
his visit was to build on the opening created by Cyclone
Nargis to extend and deepen cooperation with the GOB on
political and socio-economic issues. The UN, under the
Secretary-General's direction, had purposefully focused on
humanitarian issues in the wake of the disaster, but now
hoped to increase its good offices role in an effort to shape
the next phase of the regime's "roadmap to democracy" - which
Gambari said would be difficult but also "potentially
rewarding" if the regime took certain steps. Gambari added
that he hoped to come to Burma several times prior to a
possible visit here by the Secretary-General.

3. (SBU) Diplomatic representatives, including Charge,
acknowledged the opening created by Nargis but cited the sham
referendum, extension of Aung San Suu Kyi's detention, and
ongoing arrests as evidence of a complete lack of progress
toward democracy and reconciliation. Most of those diplomats
who spoke out (UK, France, Italy, Philippines, Singapore, and
U.S.) emphasized the need for Gambari to press the regime for
the release of political prisoners and for time-bound,
genuine dialogue with democratic and ethnic groups; Gambari
stressed those points were high on his agenda. He otherwise
demurred on questions about the points he intended to raise
with the regime, explaining that he was being reticent
because he was carrying a personal message from the
Secretary-General - he did not say for whom - that he had not
yet delivered.

4. (SBU) Gambari also admitted that most of his program for
the five-day visit was not set and did not divulge the
meeting requests he had submitted to the regime. He did
note, however, that the program for his first day included a
call on the Foreign Minister and meetings with the Tripartite
Core Group and International Committee for the Red Cross.
Gambari remarked, without elaborating, that he believed
access to government officials and opposition leaders had
improved over the course of his six visits to Burma. Gambari
pledged to meet with the diplomatic corps again near the end
of his visit to brief on its outcomes.
VAJDA

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