UN / MYANMAR SPECIAL ENVOY

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03-Mar-2021 00:03:43
UN Special Envoy for Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener said the situation in Myanmar “hits the stability of the region” and could lead to a “real war” which is in “nobody’s interest” and called on the Security Council to uphold its unity on the matter. UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / MYANMAR SPECIAL ENVOY
TRT: 3:43
SOURCE: UNIFEED
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 03 MARCH 2021, NEW YORK CITY

SHOTLIST:

FILE - NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, UN headquarters exterior

03 MARCH 2021, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, press room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Christine Schraner Burgener, Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Myanmar, United Nations:
“I had discussions with the army, and I warned them that member states and the Security Council might take huge strong measures and the answer was ‘we are used to sanctions and we survived the sanctions time in the past.’ When I also warned they will go in an isolation, the answer was ‘we have to learn to walk with only few friends.’ So, I think we have really to – the member states have to take very strong measures, but my role will be also to continue the dialogue also with the army because I think we can only stop this in a dialogue; and if not we know that in the past, the army have always text book and have always determined to go the roadmap they choose unfortunately.”
4. Wide shot, press room
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Christine Schraner Burgener, Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Myanmar, United Nations:
“So, this is in my view a clear textbook which does work now. And I think that the army is very surprised that it doesn't work because in the past – in 1988 and 2007 and 8 – it worked. But today, we have young people who lived in freedom for 10 years. They have social media, and they well organized and very determined. They don't want to go back in a dictatorship and in isolation. So, I think the army is surprised and maybe we have to help them to come out of this situation.”
6. Wide shot, press room
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Christine Schraner Burgener, Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Myanmar, United Nations:
“I think he was really – the Commander-in-Chief was really afraid that she will have more success with this overwhelming victory in the election. But we also know that the Commander-in-Chief should take his retirement in June this year, and maybe he was also worried about his immunity because we know that there are legal procedures at the ICJ and ICC. But at the end, my opinion is it was definitely about power, because they have the real power and they don't want to lose this power.”
8. Med shot, journalist asking question
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Christine Schraner Burgener, Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Myanmar, United Nations:
“It hits the stability of the region because if we know that the ethnic armed organizations are determined not to allow this coup to continue - they also stated that they suspended the dialogue with the Tatmadaw – and if those sides will use violence, then we have a situation of a real war in Myanmar which is in nobody's interest, not for the people in Myanmar but also not for the region. So, I hope that China will realize that it will be important to work together, but also for Russia. So, I really hope that this unity will be upheld on Friday.”
10. Wide shot, press room

STORYLINE:

UN Special Envoy for Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener said the situation in Myanmar “hits the stability of the region” and could lead to a “real war” which is in “nobody’s interest” and called on the Security Council to uphold its unity on the matter.

Speaking today (03 Mar) at a virtual press conference, Schraner Burgener said the news out of Myanmar today was shocking and marked the bloodiest day since the start of the coup with 38 people killed. She said over 1,200 people are now detained and many families don't know where their loved one are and in what condition.

The Special Representative said she remained in contact with the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) which represents the elected parliamentarians and with all regional stakeholders including Asean leaders. She said the Secretary-General condemned the coup and urged an end to the violence. She stressed that every tool available was now needed to end the situation in Myanmar, adding that the unity of the international community was essential.

Schraner Burgener said she had discussions with the army and warned them that “member states and the Security Council might take huge strong measures and the answer was ‘we are used to sanctions and we survived the sanctions time in the past.’” She added, “When I also warned they will go in an isolation, the answer was ‘we have to learn to walk with only few friends.’ So, I think we have really to – the member states have to take very strong measures, but my role will be also to continue the dialogue also with the army because I think we can only stop this in a dialogue; and if not we know that in the past, the army have always textbook and have always determined to go the roadmap they choose unfortunately.”

The Special Envoy told reporters that in her discussions with the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Myanmar army Soe Win, he told her the military had a five-point roadmap which was to be implemented by the recently set up State Administration Council. This includes, the reconstitution of Union Election Commission, COVID-19 prevention, recovering businesses, restoring the peace, and an election in a year’s time.

Schraner Burgener said COVID-19 prevention would be a disaster given that the country has no tests or vaccines, and this could have regional implications. She added that restoring the peace would also be very difficult with ten of the 21 ethnic armed organizations making a strong statement against the coup and threatening to use violence if the army attacks civilians, especially in their regions.

The Special Envoy said it was clear in her view that the Myanmar military, also known as the Tatmadow, wanted to imprison National League for Democracy (NLD) members for election fraud and treason, and eventually ban the party prior to the proposed elections.

She said, “So, this is in my view a clear textbook which does work now. And I think that the army is very surprised that it doesn't work because in the past – in 1988 and 2007 and 8 – it worked. But today, we have young people who lived in freedom for 10 years. They have social media, and they well organized and very determined. They don't want to go back in a dictatorship and in isolation. So, I think the army is surprised and maybe we have to help them to come out of this situation.”

Schraner Burgener said she had always warned of a possible coup as the Tatmadow had the real power in the coutnry. She said Daw Aung San Suu Kyi wanted to make real reforms and changes to the constitution to make Myanmar a true federal democracy but was to date unable to do so. The Special Envoy said she had agreed to support Suu Kyi in her efforts to make reforms after the November elections, in which the NLD had won more than 82 per cent of the seats.

She added, “I think he was really – the Commander-in-Chief was really afraid that she will have more success with this overwhelming victory in the election. But we also know that the Commander-in-Chief should take his retirement in June this year, and maybe he was also worried about his immunity because we know that there are legal procedures at the ICJ and ICC. But at the end, my opinion is it was definitely about power, because they have the real power and they don't want to lose this power.”

Asked about recent stances made by China and Russia that the coup in Myanmar is an internal matter and the international community should respect the sovereignty of the country, Schraner Burgener expressed her hope that the countries recognize that this was not the case. She said the situation “hits the stability of the region because if we know that the ethnic armed organizations are determined not to allow this coup to continue - they also stated that they suspended the dialogue with the Tatmadaw – and if those sides will use violence, then we have a situation of a real war in Myanmar which is in nobody's interest, not for the people in Myanmar but also not for the region.” She added, “So, I hope that China will realize that it will be important to work together, but also for Russia.”

The Special Envoy said she would be briefing the Security Council in closed consultation. She said China and Russia had already agreed to a strong statement by the Security Council in February and hoped that “this unity will be upheld on Friday.”
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