Wednesday 5 August 2009

U.N. chief urges Myanmar to carefully consider any verdict in the trial for Aung San Suu Kyi

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Myanmar to give "careful consideration" to any verdict in the trial of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Ban also called for the release of all political prisoners in Myanmar.
Ban met with the "Group of Friends of the Secretary-General on Myanmar" for a closed-door meeting inside the United Nations headquarters on Wednesday (August 5).

After the meeting, Ban told reporters, "I informed the members of the group that I had met on July 31st with the permanent representative of Myanmar and my request to reiterate two key messages which I delivered directly to Myanmar's senior leadership during my visit. The first, my clear expectations and that of the international community that the government of Myanmar will give careful consideration to the implications of any verdict in the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi and use this opportunity to exercise its responsibility to ensure her immediate release. And secondly, the international community has high expectations that the government of Myanmar will act in Myanmar's interests by taking timely and positive steps in follow up to the specific proposals which I made the to the senior leadership during my visit starting with the release of all political prisoners so that they could participate in a credible and inclusive political process," said Ban.

Ban's meeting comes one week before the expected verdict in the case. Suu Kyi is on trial for breaching the terms of her house arrest after John Yettaw, an American Vietnam War veteran, swam to her lakeside house and stayed uninvited for two nights. The verdict is expected on Tuesday, August 11, but could be delayed.

Suu Kyi faces five years in prison and critics say it is an attempt by Myanmar's military rulers to ensure the charismatic Nobel Peace Prize winner remains in detention until after next year's elections.


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