France to press for UN meet if aid does not reach Myanmar

23rd May 2008, Comments 0 comments

France will push for a meeting of the UN Security Council on Myanmar's cyclone relief aid if diplomatic efforts do not yield results on the ground.

23 May 2008

UNITED NATIONS - France will make a new push for a meeting of the UN Security Council on Myanmar's cyclone relief aid if diplomatic efforts do not yield results on the ground, its ambassador to the UN said Thursday.

Jean-Maurice Ripert told reporters that if in a few days, there was no sign that international aid actually reaches those who need it despite the intervention of UN chief Ban Ki-moon, UN emergency relief coordinator John Holmes and diplomatic efforts by Association of Southeast Asian Nations, it would be time to bring the issue back before the council.

Two weeks ago, the French envoy tried and failed to secure a briefing of the 15-member Security Council by Holmes.

"Regarding the cyclone, we said that we will wait for Holmes, Ban Ki-moon and ASEAN countries to report to New York to see if there is some concrete improvement on the access to victims," he said.

"We don't see any improvement (in the delivery of aid), except for the fact that for the first time today, a small helicopter is operating for the WFP (World Food Programme) base in Yangon," he added.

"The point now is to see if the pressure ... is going to be useful. If not, we will have to go back to the Security Council," Ripert noted.

Thursday, Ban toured Myanmar's cyclone disaster area, as he began talks with the ruling junta in Yangon on opening up to a massive relief effort that could save countless lives.

Myanmar's military leaders have shocked the world by refusing a full-scale emergency operation despite the scope of the destruction, and Ban said he would try to persuade them to welcome offers of help with open arms.

[AFP / Expatica]

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