Published on January 31, 2008
The respected think-tank International Crisis Group (ICG) has suggested Indonesia would be ideal to host a multi-level approach to resolve the problem of Burma.
In a report, the group suggested a forum similar to that for Cambodia in the late 1980s.
It would employ a multi-level approach to end the political deadlock in the military-ruled country.
Entitled "Burma/Myanmar: After the Crackdown", the Brussels-based group's report examined the implications of mass protests in September last year, the brutal crackdown and proposals to resolve the crisis.
While the military remains in firm charge, last year's events emphasised the depth of the political and economic problems.
Even the regime's allies recognised the need to take a new course, the report said.
"Burma's neighbours, especially China and members of Asean, need to seize the moment", said John Virgoe, Crisis Group's South East Asia project director.
"Regional multi-party talks - coordinated with the UN Secretary-General's special envoy, Ibrahim Gambari, and backed by the wider international community - hold out the best hope for launching a meaningful process of national reconciliation and broader reform", he said.
"Indonesia could play a particularly important role, perhaps by hosting a regional meeting along the lines of the Jakarta Informal Meetings which kick-started the Cambodia peace process in 1988 and 1989," said Crisis Group president Gareth
Evans, who as Australian foreign minister was closely involved in that process.
All international players with some ability to influence the situation need to become actively involved in working for change, including the emergence of a broader, more inclusive, better organised political society, it said.
At the core, UN special envoy Gambari plays a vital role promoting dialogue and coordinating unprecedented international efforts, the ICG's report suggested.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon should strengthen his office by becoming directly involved in key negotiations with the Burmese authorities, including through a personal visit to the capital of Naypyidaw in the near future, the report said.
Others also have important roles. A working group of China and key Asean members - possibly Indonesia, Singa-pore, Thailand and Vietnam - should draw on their close ties to engage Rangoon in talks about issues affecting regional stability and development.
However, role of countries in the region is very limited as Burma, at the Asean summit in Singapore last November, suggested the group should not to intervene in its domestic affairs, reserving its right to work only with the UN to solve the problem.
Foreign Minister Nitya Pibulsonggram said after a meeting with the European Union's special envoy on Burma Piero Fassino on Tuesday that Burma did not wish Asean to get involved in its problems.
On a tour of Asia, Fassino is seeking cooperation to help Gambari, who is in India, to achieve a "genuine" political dialogue among all conflicting parties in Burma.
Supalak G Khundee