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Burma: Politics and Government

Volume 481: debated on Thursday 23 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Chinese Government on the conduct of the Government of Burma. (228211)

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister raised our deep concern about the situation in Burma with Chinese Premier Wen on 24 September, during UN General Assembly Ministerial week in New York. He also raised Burma with both Premier Wen and President Hu in Beijing in August. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary discussed Burma with Foreign Minister Yang on 12 June, and will raise the issue again when they meet at the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit in Beijing later this month. Officials maintain an active dialogue with the Chinese Government through our embassies in Beijing and Rangoon, and with the Chinese embassy in London. In all these discussions, we have consistently encouraged China to bring its influence to bear on the Burmese regime to respond to the demands of the UN Security Council and broader international community.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Government of Burma on the outcome of the most recent visit to Burma by the UN special rapporteur. (228218)

The UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Burma visited the country between 3 and 7 August and delivered a report of his observations to the UN General Assembly on 5 September 2008. Ministerial contact with the regime is restricted by the EU Common Position on Burma. However, our ambassador in Rangoon regularly raises our deep concern about the human rights situation, including the issues highlighted in the Special Rapporteur’s report. We also support the work of the Special Rapporteur through the Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly.