7 May 2008
France has suggested invoking a U.N. "responsibility to protect" clause and delivering aid directly to cyclone-hit Myanmar without waiting for approval from the military in Rangoon, the foreign minister said.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told reporters on Wednesday the idea was under discussion at the United Nations in New York.
"We are seeing at the United Nations if we can't implement the responsibility to protect, given that food, boats and relief teams are there, and obtain a United Nations' resolution which authorises the delivery (of aid) and imposes this on the Burmese government," he said.
The United Nations recognised in 2005 the concept "responsibility to protect" civilians when their governments could or would not do it, even if this meant intervention that violated national sovereignty.
() The United Nations said on Wednesday it had obtained permission from the military government to fly emergency supplies to Myanmar, but aid workers were still waiting for visas to enter the isolated country.
() Kouchner, a long-time human rights champion, said the French, British and Indian navies had ships directly opposite the worst hit areas and were ready to help if Myanmar authorities gave the go ahead.
"It would only take half an hour for the French boats and French helicopters to reach the disaster area, and I imagine it's the same story for our British friends," he said.
"We are putting constant pressure on the Burmese authorities but we haven't yet got the go ahead," he added.