Cablegate: Demarche Request: Replacement of Srsg Gambari For


DE RUEHC #7438 2811952
O P 071948Z OCT 08

Tuesday, 07 October 2008, 19:48
C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 107438
EO 12958 DECL: 09/23/2018
Classified By: IO PDAS James Warlick. Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (U) This is an action request. See para. 4.
2. (C) Department views the “good offices” mission of the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative (SRSG) to Burma as an important vehicle for encouraging democratic progress in Burma. Consequently, Department has viewed with growing concern the lack of progress on core political steps that the UNSC called on Burma to take such as the immediate release of political prisoners and the opening of a meaningful, time-bound political dialogue with democratic and ethnic minority leaders, in particular, with Aung San Suu Kyi (ASSK), over the course of SRSG Gambari’s four missions to Rangoon. Indeed, it appears that Gambari’s access to regime officials and ability to secure results has only contracted over the course of these missions. His access to democratic leaders has been constrained by both the regime and more recently a loss of confidence in Gambari among leaders of the democracy movement.
3. (C) Gambari appears unrealistically upbeat, pursuing and reporting progress on peripheral matters (e.g., a possible economic forum, the possible placement of a UN staff member in Rangoon) that are a distraction from what the Security Council has articulated as critical goals and identified as Gambari’s mandate.
4. (C) Considering the key role of the good offices mission and Gambari’s inability to secure significant progress from the Burmese regime, USUN is asked to demarche SYG Ban or Ambassador Kim to seek Gambari’s dismissal as SRSG for Burma. This demarche should occur as soon as practical.
5. (C) Taking into account Gambari’s usefulness in his concurrent role as UN advisor on the International Compact with Iraq, as well as SYG Ban’s likely sensitivities in regard to a possible dismissal, Department provides the following talking points (not/not to be left as a non- paper) for use by USUN in this demarche:
6. (C/rel to UN) Begin points:
-- Over time, the United States has become increasingly concerned that the UN good offices mission in regard to Burma is in dire jeopardy.
-- Special Representative Gambari’s fourth and latest trip to Burma continued a disturbing pattern of regime-managed itineraries; restricted access to key regime officials and activists; and complete lack of progress on the critical issues that form the core of Mr. Gambari’s mandate: the opening of a meaningful and time-bound dialogue with democratic and ethnic minority leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi, toward democratization and national reconciliation, and the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners.
-- While the main responsibility for this lack of progress should be attributed to regime intransigence, Mr. Gambari has not been willing to acknowledge it. This lack of progress, Mr. Gambari’s inappropriate claims of success regarding peripheral issues, and his unwillingness to press the regime more forcefully for progress have caused us to conclude that his continued involvement undermines the good offices mission and should therefore be ended.
-- We have no wish to embarrass Mr. Gambari and have no intent to link any removal with a lack of progress in Burma, but we would ask that you find a way to terminate gracefully his participation in this particular mission. In particular, we cannot support further travel to Burma for discussions with regime leadership by Mr. Gambari as part of the good offices mission.
-- We urge you not to rush to name a replacement. There have been a series of Special Representatives, none of whom have succeeded due to regime intransigence. Absent some sign that the regime is willing to engage seriously, we fear appointment of a new envoy could actually encourage the regime and some of its friends to continue to emphasize process over substance. As you requested, however, we are willing to share ideas of possible candidates as you consider next steps.
-- There is talk of your ramping up your personal involvement on Burma, or perhaps even visiting. We think you could play an important role but understand you will have to consider carefully how you would engage. Although a trip by you could be useful, we believe it’s critical that the groundwork be laid so you can be confident that your visit will result in tangible progress.
-- We understand that the Burmese are unlikely to make major concessions as a condition for your visit. However, we do not believe you should go without a strong indication ahead of time that your visit would coincide with some tangible, positive steps. Steps that we recommend you insist upon are: the release of high-profile political prisoners; the release of Aung San Suu Kyi or at least the easing of her house arrest; insistence that you and any subsequent Special Representative will be able to determine your own schedules, including meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi, political prisoners, activists, and whomever else you wish; and that you will have access to the senior most leadership of the Burmese regime; agreement on specific steps to begin a dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi and other democratic and ethnic leaders; and a guarantee that any Special Representative will be granted a multiple entry visa.
End points. RICE

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