06/26/2009, 00.00
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UN envoy to meet military junta, perhaps Aung San Suu Kyi

The visit should prepare the ground for next visit by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Today court trying opposition leader postpones hearing. NLD calls for UN missions to be more effective.

Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) – UN Special Envoy to Myanmar Ibrahim Gambari arrived this morning in Yangon for a series of meetings with the leaders of the country’s military junta. It is not clear whether he will be able to see opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, currently under arrest. A hearing in her current trial was scheduled to take place today but was postponed again till 3 July

The UN official arrived this morning in Yangon, the country’s economic hub, before leaving for the capital, Naypyidaw. Whether the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon makes an official visit to the country will depend on the outcome of this trip.

Gambari wants to exert pressure on the junta to release Aung San Suu Kyi, who is prison for allegedly violating her house arrest, as well as other political prisoners.

Human rights activists and organisations want the secretary general not to travel to Myanmar arguing the trip could be exploited by the military government.

Leaders of the main opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), are instead in favour of the visit.

For his part, Ban Ki-moon said he is waiting for the right moment.

“We always support and welcome visits by the UN secretary-general as well as any UN envoy," NLD spokesman Nyan Win said.

“We also hope that the UN might be able to carry out their [. . .] mission more efficiently and effectively,” he said speaking about Gambari in a veiled criticism of what the envoy was unable to achieve in its previous seven trips.

Back in Yangon the court in Aung San Suu Kyi’s trial said that the hearing scheduled for today would be resumed on 3 July.

Myanmar’s opposition leader has been in prison since May for allegedly violating the terms of her house arrest when she gave shelter to an American man, John Yettaw

However, she rejected the charges saying she let the man stay briefly in her compound for “humanitarian reasons” and that the junta’s security perimeter around her house was to blame if he was able to enter her house.

If she is found guilty she could bet up to five years in prison. This would prevent her from running in next year’s elections.

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See also
Ban Ki-moon in Myanmar to seek Aung San Suu Kyi’s release
Pope talks about the Middle East, the Holy Land and the food crisis with Bush
Defense witness: the law used to charge Aung San Suu Kyi has been repealed
Aung San Suu Kyi fights back, blaming breach of security on police
Military junta lifts Aung San Suu Kyi’s house arrest order but keeps her in prison


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