United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has asked Myanmar's military junta to release pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and allow her to take part in the polls, saying without her participation the proposed 2010 general elections can't be held "credible".
"To be credible and legitimate, Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners should be released," Ban told reporters at the UN headquarters in New York, soon after briefing the Security Council on his recent visit to Burma.
Several members of the powerful Security Council, including the US, Britain and France, expressed their disappointment that Ban was not allowed to meet Aung San Suu Kyi, the popular Burmese leader, who has been under house arrest for more than 13 of the last 19 years.
China on the other hand argued the success or failure of Ban's trip to Burma should not be determined by him not able to meet Suu Kyi.
Responding to reporters queries after the meeting, Ban said he made it quite clear to the Burmese leaders that Aung San Suu Kyi in particular should be released and free to participate in the election.
"I emphasised that, without participation of Aung San Suu Kyi, without her being able to campaign freely, and without her NLD party (being able) to establish party offices all throughout the provinces, this election may not be regarded as credible and legitimate," he said.