cripdo news(AFP) – UN chief Ban Ki-moon will travel to Myanmar this week for talks with the military regime on the release of all political prisoners, including democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, his spokeswoman said Monday.
Michele Montas said Ban's agenda in Myanmar, following travel Monday to Japan, includes a broad range of issues, including Aung San Suu Kyi's fate and "the release of all political prisoners."
Ban also hopes to address "the resumption of dialogue between the government and opposition as a necessary part of any national reconciliation process, and the need to create conditions conducive to credible elections," she added.
Ban decided to go ahead with the trip after being briefed Sunday by his special envoy Ibrahim Gambari who paid a brief preparatory trip to Myanmar last week.
The UN leader's visit to the country formerly known as Burma, set for Friday and Saturday, comes as Myanmar's military rulers press ahead with the internationally condemned trial of Aung San Suu Kyi.
Aung San Suu Kyi, 64, is being held in jail on charges of violating her house arrest after American John Yettaw swam to her lakeside house earlier this year. She faces up to five years in prison if convicted.
Her case has drawn widespread international condemnation, with US President Barack Obama describing it as a "show trial" and some of Myanmar's neighbors breaking their usual silence on the issue.
Diplomats said Ban faced a dilemma in responding to the formal invitation from Myanmar rulers.
Refusing to make the visit would be seen as not fulfilling his role as secretary general but to accept and return empty-handed would be seen as a slap in the face for him and for the international community, said a diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Other diplomats said Ban was also in a delicate position as veto-wielding China, a traditional ally of Myanmar, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations of which Myanmar is a member, were pushing him to go without setting conditions while Western nations were pressing him to secure at least some concessions from the military regime.
During his two-day visit, Gambari met twice with Myanmar Foreign Minister Nyan Win in the junta's remote administrative capital Naypyidaw before holding talks with Singapore's ambassador and UN staff in Yangon.
But the UN special envoy did not meet Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi himself before flying out of the country.
The UN boss and Gambari have been trying to persuade Myanmar's ruling generals to free all political detainees, including Aung San Suu Kyi, and steer their country on the path to democracy and national reconciliation.