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UN Chief Meets with Burmese Minister at General Assembly


The United Nations Secretary General has met with Burma's Foreign Minister on the sidelines of the General Assembly meeting in New York.

Mr. Ban Ki-moon told Wunna Maung Lwin Sunday that he recognized the significance of recent developments in the country, but that the Burmese Government should step up its reform efforts. He also reiterated the UN’s commitment to help the country address its political and developmental challenges.

Burma's pro-military government on Thursday lifted a long-standing ban on several prominent news web sites, including the Voice of America, Reuters news agency and the British Broadcasting Corporation. It also for the first time allowed the public to celebrate the United Nations'-designated "International Day of Democracy."

Mr. Ban reiterated his call for the early release of political prisoners still held by Burma. There are currently more than 2,100 political prisoners in jails across the country, including monks, students, elected members of parliament and lawyers.

Recent overtures by the new government toward the country's pro-democracy opposition and a host of Western governments have stirred widespread speculation about democratic reform in Burma, which has been ruled by military generals since the early 1960s.

Since taking office earlier this year, the new government has called for peace with armed ethnic separatists and met with several foreign delegations. President Thein Sein met with pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi for the first time in August, and both parties later described the meeting as friendly.

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