Some diplomats defended Mr Gambari and said he had a tough job in the face of the regime’s intransigence. Jean-Maurice Ripert, French envoy to the UN, said criticism should not be directed at Mr Gambari, but rather at the ruling junta for failing to engage in a political dialogue with the opposition.
At least the envoy seems determined to keep on trying:
Mr Gambari said he had no plans for an early return to Burma until there was a prospect of progress. Western diplomats say some members of the UN Security Council, including China and Russia, who are opposed to sanctions, would like the Gambari mission to maintain business as usual. The existence of the UN-sponsored process is seen as easing pressure to impose tougher measures on Burma.
But Mr Gambari appeared to favour firmer demands on the regime on the key issues of freedom for political prisoners and a return to political dialogue. “We always said the process is not an end in itself. It should deliver tangible results.”