DE RUEHC #7438 2811952
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O P 071948Z OCT 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 0000
INFO RUEHGO/AMEMBASSY RANGOON PRIORITY 0000
Tuesday, 07 October 2008, 19:48
C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 107438
USUN FOR JEFF DELAURENTIS
EO 12958 DECL: 09/23/2018
TAGS PREL, KPAO, PHUM, BM
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE REQUEST: REPLACEMENT OF SRSG GAMBARI FOR
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
-- 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
-- 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