Cambodia has promised to make every effort to encourage Burma to return to democracy and respect human rights, a UN envoy said Friday.
Speaking to reporters in Phnom Penh, Ibrahim Gambari, the UN’s special envoy for Burma, also renewed his own call for the release of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a stance he said is supported by all of Asean.
Gambari said Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong had pledged during a meeting Thursday to “use every opportunity….to offer constructive suggestions on how best [Burma] can speed up the process of democratization.”
“We agreed that the best way to avoid sanctions or more sanctions is actually more cooperation by the government of Myanmar, not less,” Gambari said. Burma is also known as Myanmar.
“We are saying very clearly already that if Aung San Suu Kyi is to become part of the solution and a partner in dialogue, it is very, very essential that she be released from detention,” Gambari added.
At its recent summit in Singapore, and before the UN General Assembly in September, Asean, of which Cambodia is a member, called for the release of Suu Kyi, who has spent 12 of the last 18 years under house arrest.
The Burmese Embassy could not be contacted Friday.
SRP lawmaker Son Chhay, who chairs a National Assembly Burma caucus, said that he doubted Gambari’s dialogue with Cambodia would have a lasting effect.
“He cannot just listen and continue to listen,” Son Chhay said of Gambari.
“So far I haven’t heard what [Gambari] has to convince the Asean leaders or the junta that by having talks with the UN they will solve the problem,” he added.
According to Son Chhay, at a meeting at the National Assembly on Friday, Assembly President Heng Samrin urged Burmese Prime Minister Thein Sein to learn from Cambodia’s troubled past and and make a peaceful return to democracy.
“Heng Samrin said that Cambodia had experienced the suffering of division and war for so many years and he advised the government to resolve the problem peacefully,” said Son Chhay, calling the remarks “strong advice.”
A person answering Heng Samrin’s telephone said he was unavailable.
Gambari said he was due to leave for Laos on Friday afternoon and had been invited to return to Burma before the end of the month.
(Additional reporting by Prak Chan Thul)