UN tables high-level Burma talks

Aug 6, 2009 (DVB), The United Nations will hold a high-level meeting on the sidelines of next month's General Assembly to discuss the political crisis in Burma, UN chief Ban Ki-moon said yesterday.

Speaking at a Group of Friends on Myanmar [Burma] meeting, Ban Ki-moon stressed that the international community remains committed to pressuring for the release of political prisoners in Burma.

Last week he said he hoped the Burmese government "will give careful consideration to the implications of any verdict in the [current] trial of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and use this opportunity to exercise its responsibility to ensure her immediate release."

On Burma's future, he said, the "active and united support of the international community is as important and necessary as ever before".

The Suu Kyi trial has provoked international condemnation, and was the main focus of Ban Ki-moon's visit to Burma last month.

During the visit he was twice denied a meeting with the imprisoned opposition leader, who will on Monday hear the verdict in a trial in which she is accused of breaching conditions of her house arrest.

The verdict was delayed last Friday following a meeting between Ban Ki-moon and Burma's permanent representative to the UN, Than Swe, although the courtroom said it need to further review the case.

The Group of Friends comprises 14 countries and one regional bloc, including China, Russia, and South Korea, which met yesterday at the UN headquarters in New York.

The Group will be meeting again in September on the sidelines of the annual opening of the General Assembly, Ban Ki-moon told reporters yesterday.

Reporting by Francis Wade

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