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UN Chief Asks Burmese Junta for Meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the head of Burma's military government has not yet answered his request to meet with jailed pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Mr. Ban spoke Friday after talks in Burma's remote administrative capital of Naypyitaw. The U.N. chief said he told senior Burmese General Than Shwe that he wants to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi.

He said he is awaiting a final reply before he is due to leave Burma on Saturday.

After arriving in Burma, Mr. Ban said he would urge authorities to release all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi. He said he also would call on Burmese authorities to prepare the groundwork for a credible election next year. He said the election should reflect the will of the Burmese people in a "credible, transparent and inclusive manner."

Mr. Ban has acknowledged that he is on "a very tough mission."

Aung San Suu Kyi is charged with violating the terms of her house arrest. She is facing a five-year prison term.

The Nobel laureate's trial was set to resume Friday after numerous delays. But the court hearing the case issued another postponement, this time until July 10.

Her lawyer, Nyan Win, says the judge postponed Friday's hearing because the Supreme Court did not send the case files to the lower court.

The international community has condemned the trial as a sham intended to keep her in prison through next year's election.

Observers say Mr. Ban is risking certain damage to his prestige if he fails to secure the release of the Nobel laureate and the other political prisoners. He has been criticized for his quiet, low-key style of diplomacy.

Human Rights Watch warned Thursday that Burma's military leaders could use the U.N. chief's visit to legitimize next year's elections.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.