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UN chief pushes Myanmar junta on Suu Kyi

world Updated: Jul 03, 2009 20:23 IST

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday pressed the reclusive leader of Myanmar's ruling junta to free democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi and to allow him to visit the Nobel peace laureate.

Ban said military supremo Than Shwe had not yet granted him permission to see the 64-year-old opposition leader but added that he awaited a final reply before his two-day mission ends on Saturday.

The UN chief flew to Naypyidaw, the remote stronghold of the regime, shortly after a prison court again adjourned the widely condemned trial of Aung San Suu Kyi on charges of breaching the terms of her house arrest.

"I told him that I wanted to meet her in person. He told me that she is on trial but I told him this is my proposal, this is important and I am waiting for their consideration and reply," Ban told reporters after the talks.

Than Shwe appeared in his olive green military uniform at the start of the meeting but did not speak.

Asked how soon he expected a response from the junta on his request to see her, Ban said with a smile: "I am leaving on Saturday, so logically speaking I am waiting for a reply before my departure."

Ban said he had also sought the release of the more than 2,000 political prisoners that the UN says are held in Myanmar -- including Aung San Suu Kyi -- ahead of elections promised by the ruling generals in 2010.