6 December 2010The next two months will be crucial for Myanmar, potentially determining its political future and its place in the international community, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned today, citing the unsatisfactory nature of recent elections and the need to include those who were excluded. In a meeting with the so-called Group of Friends on Myanmar, comprising more than a dozen nations and regional blocs supporting his good offices mandate in the South-East Asian country, Mr. Ban stressed that for any transition to succeed, it must involve not only those who participated and won seats in the election, but also those who did not or could not, and this must include the release of political prisoners.“Looking ahead, we need to keep encouraging the authorities to take steps to make the political transition broad-based and inclusive,” spokesman Martin Nesirky quoted him as saying. The meeting – which was briefed by Mr. Ban’s Special Adviser on Myanmar, Vijay Nambiar, who has just returned from talks with the country’s leaders and a broad range of civil society – called on the authorities to achieve this by building on recent developments, including through the specific steps proposed by the United Nations.Mr. Ban noted that addressing concerns about the credibility of the transition process to date is also essential for any next steps to succeed, stressing that “regrettably, the conduct of the elections was far below the international community’s expectations.”The meeting highlighted the need for greater international consensus towards Myanmar, endorsing a comprehensive UN engagement in the political, humanitarian and development areas, in parallel and with equal attention. Mr. Nambiar, who is also Mr. Ban’s Chief of Staff, briefed the Security Council today in a closed session on his visit, during which he met with recently released Nobel Peace Prize laureate and pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy (NLD) won the last elections, later invalidated by the country’s rulers, two decades ago but was barred from participating this time.He also met with representatives of some of the major political parties who participated in the recent polls and members of civil society groups.