Burma / National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma
Independent Diplomat advised the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB), the "government-in-exile" of Burma on its diplomacy and political strategy from 2007 through 2010. The NCGUB represents the last democratically elected government in Burma. In 1990 the National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi won a landslide victory but the military junta refused to allow the NLD to form a government. The NCGUB's objective has been to promote a peaceful transition to democracy in Burma through diplomacy and in such forums as the UN Security Council, the Association of South East Asian Nations and the European Union.
In August 2009, at a convention convened under the NCGUB's leadership in Jakarta, Indonesia, Burma's key external democracy and ethnic groups united in a historical and unprecedented alliance to endorse a Proposal for National Reconciliation. This Proposal set out a comprehensive strategy for an orderly and timely transition from military rule to democracy in Burma, based on the rule of law, respect for human rights and significant reform of the economy. The Proposal was an offer to the military junta to engage in a dialogue for a gradual transition to democracy and development in Burma. It was also a blueprint for the holding of inclusive, fair and free elections in 2010.
The military junta refused to engage with the opposition or the international community, and conducted elections on 7 November 2010 that were widely condemned as neither fair nor inclusive. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who was effectively excluded from participating in the elections, was released on 13 November 2010 after having been under house arrest for much of the last 20 years. On her release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi called for the release of more than 2,200 political prisoners who remain incarcerated and espoused the message of national reconciliation.
Independent Diplomat has previously worked with the Republic of Croatia on its European Union accession process. ID provided independent external analysis and advice and acted as a supplementary source of information on what the EU sources were thinking on both general and very specific issues in Croatia's accession process.
Membership in the EU is the culmination of Croatia's progress towards peace, security and development following the conflicts of the 1990s. ID staff have extensive experience in EU and NATO accession; with access to a wide network of senior EU diplomats, based both in Brussels and members' capitals, with which to access the best "inside track" expertise and knowledge.
Georgian Dream coalition
From January 2012 until its electoral victory in October 2012, Independent Diplomat advised the Georgian Dream coalition, a group of progressive opposition forces in the Republic of Georgia, on the diplomacy surrounding Georgia at the European Union and other European institutions and on its engagement with European policy-makers and experts.
The goal of the Georgian Dream coalition is to create a more open and less centralised state in Georgia, reversing authoritarian trends in government, and integrating Georgia into Euro-Atlantic institutions while also improving relations with all its neighbours. Independent Diplomat assisted the coalition’s leadership on the European aspects of their work.
Independent Diplomat’s first project was to advise the government, and later the multi-party negotiating team, of Kosovo before and during the process which culminated in Kosovo’s independence in 2008. This process was managed by the UN, but was steered politically by the Contact Group, a small group of six countries which dominated international decision-making on Kosovo and the South East European region.
Under the terms of the UN Security Council decisions on Kosovo, the Kosovo government was not permitted any diplomatic representation or a foreign ministry, limiting its ability to gather information and interpret this sometimes secretive process which was nonetheless crucial to Kosovo’s future.
ID provided Kosovo with detailed information, analysis and advice on the intentions of and dynamics within the Contact Group and the various UN bodies involved, including the UN Special Envoy appointed to run the negotiation process, Martti Ahtisaari. One of ID’s successes was to help the Kosovo Prime Minister address the UN Security Council for the first time on his country’s situation, a privilege which had previously been denied to Kosovo's representatives.
Meet the Parties
The ‘Meet the Parties' initiative was ID’s first thematic, non-client-based project. Launched in March 2008, the project was based on the principle that all parties to disputes on the UN Security Council agenda should be given a chance to put their concerns directly to Council, including state and non-state actors alike. By improving the Council's working methods in this way, the project aimed to enhance the transparency and quality of the Council's decision-making. This is a core objective of all of ID’s work.
ID assisted the Government of Moldova from October 2010 through September 2011 in its goals to move ahead quickly on European integration. The Alliance for European Integration, a coalition of pro-reform parties which prevailed in several rounds of elections in 2009-2011, had prioritized relations with the EU as part of its general agenda of entrenching a lasting reform of the country's economy and government structures.
ID advised the Chisinau government on the general question of its aspirations for EU accession, and the specifics of its particular concerns on a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with the European Union; visa liberalization for Moldovans wishing to visit the Schengen countries; and joining the European Civil Aviation Area. Intelligence from ID's EU networks covering these areas was transmitted to the Government, helping officials to stay on top of developments where Moldova's interests were concerned, thereby enabling better formulation of policy positions and targeting of efforts.
During the course of ID's work with the Moldovan government, they became the front-runners among the EU's eastern neighbors in their quest for visa liberalization, commenced negotiations on joining the European Civil Aviation Area and got a green light for the start of trade negotiations in late 2011.
Government of the Republic of South Sudan
ID worked with the Government of the Republic of South Sudan (GRSS) from late 2009 until January 2014, helping South Sudan's leadership to make the case internationally that the self-determination referendum agreed to in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement had to be held on time, and that its result needed to be respected. ID also supported South Sudan on its engagement with the UN Security Council in the run-up to independence and assisted with negotiations on South Sudan's UN membership process. Following South Sudan's independence in July 2011, ID worked with the Foreign Ministry in Juba as well as South Sudan's missions and embassies in New York, Brussels, Washington DC and elsewhere to help improve the effectiveness of South Sudan's diplomacy and ensure a coordinated approach to the country's engagement with international partners. ID works only with governments and political actors that are committed to democracy, the rule of law and the protection of human rights, and that oppose unlawful violence. ID regularly assesses its clients' performance against these ethical criteria. In the days following the outbreak of violence in South Sudan in December 2013, ID became concerned about serious allegations from a variety of credible sources regarding the carrying out of extrajudicial and targeted killings. Independent Diplomat therefore decided to suspend its work with the Government of South Sudan in January 2014.
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
Independent Diplomat worked with the Office of the President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, H.E. Mehmet Alit Talat, from 2007 through 2010 to provide independent and expert information and diplomatic advice on the negotiations process, which followed the failure of the 2004 United Nations (Annan Plan) reunification plan. ID offices utilised their network of diplomatic contacts to keep abreast of political developments on Cyprus, monitoring closely the positions of EU member states and institutions, the UN secretariat and other engaged international actors. ID also advised the TRNC on public and diplomatic presentations of its case, and on particular issues concerned with lifting the international isolation of its people.
ID provided advice on diplomatic strategy to the TRNC President in his efforts to negotiate, under UN auspices, a bizonal, bicommunal federal state on the island of Cyprus. ID advised the TRNC leadership on the European Commission's strategy for dealing with the Turkish Cypriot community. ID also reported and analysed the positions taken by key international actors, closely following the EU's internal institutional changes and its developing relationship with Turkey, and facilitated the clients' communication with them, including hosting meetings between the Turkish Cypriot leadership and senior EU member state officials.
ID supplied input on particular issues as they arose in the negotiations process, including research on specific constitutional arrangements in federal states and EU practice in terms of adapting the Treaties to fit and reflect particular local needs, research on electoral colleges as a means of consensus-building in divided societies and guidance on cases where specific local security arrangements (as sought by the Turkish Cypriots in the settlement process) have been incorporated into the European Union's structure.
NGOs and other Organisations
Organisations ID has advised on diplomatic aspects of their work include:
- ActionAid International Somaliland
- Human Rights First
- Rockefeller Brothers Fund / Consultative Group on Biological Diversity
- The Elders
- The Free West Papua Campaign UK
- The International Center for Transitional Justice
- The Oxford Research Group
- The Western Sahara Campaign UK
- World Wildlife Fund
Independent Diplomat was insightful, knowledgeable and professional in all interactions. During the period of the Kosovo negotiations process, they assisted us in developing policy and preparing documents crucial to obtaining our independence.
Independent Diplomat was there asking what do you, as Kosovars, want to do? They respected our wishes and listened.
H.E. Dr Fatmir Sejdiu, Former President of the Republic of Kosovo