Ban Ki-moon, Deputy Chair of The Elders and former Secretary-General of the United Nations, visited Myanmar on 23-24 April 2023, to find a path to an end to violence and establishing a peaceful, democratic, inclusive and legitimate government.
He met Myanmar’s military leaders and former President Thein Sein to discuss the situation, and emphasised the importance of all parties playing a role in securing a lasting solution, including the National Unity Government.
“I came to Myanmar to urge the military to adopt an immediate cessation of violence, and start constructive dialogue among all parties concerned,” Ban Ki-moon said.
“My meetings were exploratory. I will do all I can to help the people of Myanmar secure the peace, prosperity and freedom they deserve.”
The visit was at the invitation of the Myanmar military. In his meetings in Naypyidaw, Ban Ki-moon stressed the urgency of making progress on implementation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Five-Point Consensus and last December’s United Nations Security Council Resolution 2669. He supported the international community’s calls for the immediate release by the Myanmar military of all arbitrarily detained prisoners, for constructive dialogue, and for utmost restraint from all parties.
Ban Ki-moon reiterated the strong international condemnation of the recent military air strike in Sagaing region, which is estimated to have killed more than 160 civilians, including women and children.
He warned that elections must only be held when conditions are in place for them to be free and fair. Holding elections under current conditions risks further violence and division, and the results not being recognised by the people of Myanmar, ASEAN and the wider international community.
Support for a full transition to democracy and civilian rule has been a feature of The Elders’ engagement with Myanmar over the past decade, and Ban Ki-moon has a personal history of supporting Myanmar’s progress when UN Secretary-General.
“ASEAN Member States and the wider international community need to show unity and resolve in their commitment to peace and democracy in Myanmar, which is a source of serious international concern. With patient determination, I believe a way forward can be found out of the current crisis. The military must take the first steps”, Ban Ki-moon said.