Accessibility links

UN Chief Rebukes Burma's Leaders


U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he is "deeply disappointed" that Burma's military leader rejected his request to meet with jailed democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon.

Speaking Saturday near the end of his two-day visit to Burma, Mr. Ban said the country's authorities have missed a "very important opportunity."

Mr. Ban met twice with Burma's senior general Than Shwe during the trip.

He criticized the military leadership, saying Burma's human rights record is a matter of "grave concern." He also urged the government to release all political prisoners.

Aung San Suu Kyi has been in detention for 13 of the last 19 years, and is now on trial for allegedly violating the terms of her house arrest.

Secretary-General Ban also visited a village in the Irrawaddy Delta area that was hit hard by Cyclone Nargis. Mr. Ban played a key role in persuading Burma's leaders to allow international aid workers into the area after the disaster last year.

Aung San Suu Kyi's trial was scheduled to resume Friday, the day of Mr. Ban's arrival, but was postponed for a week.

The charges against her stem from a May visit by an American intruder who swam to her lakeside home uninvited. She says she permitted him to rest overnight after he said he was suffering from exhaustion.

If convicted, she could face a five-year prison term.

The world community has called the trial a sham, intended to keep her in prison through the 2010 elections. Previous U.N. efforts to obtain Aung San Suu Kyi's release have failed.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

XS
SM
MD
LG