4 Jul 2009

UN chief denied visit with Aung San Suu Kyi

8:42 pm on 4 July 2009

The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says his request to meet detained Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been denied by the ruling junta's top general Than Shwe.

Mr Ban, on a two-day visit to the former Burma, said General Than Shwe's reason for the denial was that Suu Kyi was on trial and he did not want to interfere with the judicial process.

He says he is deeply disappointed.

"I think they have missed a very important opportunity of demonstrating their willingness to commit to continuing reconciliation with all political leaders.

"I pressed as hard as I could as a way of committing themselves to this (democratisation) process," he said.

Mr Ban requested the visit during a rare meeting with the regime's reclusive 76-year-old leader and his top advisers in the country's remote new capital, Naypyidaw, on Friday.

Ms Suu Kyi, who has spearheaded the campaign for democracy for two decades in the former Burma, is currently on trial for breaching a security law, which critics say is an attempt by the generals to keep her out of multi-party elections to be held next year.

The 64-year-old Nobel laureate has spent 14 of the last 20 years in detention, mostly under house arrest at her lakeside home in Yangon.

UN officials had no comment on the delay of Ms Suu Kyi's trial, which was adjourned on Friday until 10 July because of a clerical error by the court, according to her lawyer.