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U.N. chief to arrive in Burma Friday

Mizzima news - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will arrive in Burma on Friday for a short two-day visit to the country, according to an announcement made yesterday in New York.

Michele Montas, spokesperson for the Secretary-General, on Monday confirmed that Ban intends to meet with the "senior leadership" in the military-ruled country in order to address three critical issues to the future of the state: the release of political prisoners, the renewal of dialogue between the government and opposition, and preparations for next year's scheduled general election.

“The Secretary-General," aired Montas, "believes that the sooner these issues are addressed, the earlier Myanmar [Burma] will be able to move towards peace, democracy and prosperity.”

“He looks forward to meeting all key stakeholders to discuss what further assistance the United Nations can offer to that end,” added Montas.

Ban's visit is set to coincide with the scheduled reconvening of the trial against opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in an Insein prison court.

The trial is to resume on Friday, July 3, with the testimony of a second defense witness.

Asked as to the Secretary-General's reaction to the Burmese High Court's rejection yesterday of a defense counsel argument for the reinstatement of two further defense witnesses, Montas remarked: "Well, he is not talking about the trial right now."   

Instead, Ban is expected to approach the subject of Aung San Suu Kyi as a part of his discourse relating to the need to release all political prisoners.

It is hoped the visit can build on the positive relationship between Ban and Burma's military leaders first nurtured during his trip to the country in the wake of the devastation wrought by Cyclone Nargis.

Exactly who the Secretary-General will be able to meet during his brief stay in Burma is unknown. Ban is currently en route to Japan.


Last Updated ( Tuesday, 30 June 2009 13:27 )  

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