HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING-BY MICHELE MONTAS-SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON,29.June

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO VISIT MYANMAR
At the invitation of the Government of Myanmar, the Secretary-General will visit Myanmar on 3 and 4 July.

The Secretary-General looks forward to returning to Myanmar to address directly with the senior leadership a broad range of issues, including longstanding concerns to the United Nations and to the international community.

In particular, the Secretary-General considers that three of the most important issues for the future of Myanmar cannot be left unaddressed at this juncture of the country’s political process. These are: the release of all political prisoners, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi; 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.

The Secretary-General also considers it important to consolidate and build on the joint humanitarian effort following his visit last year in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis.

The Secretary-General believes that the sooner these issues are addressed, the earlier Myanmar will be able to move towards peace, democracy and prosperity. He looks forward to meeting all key stakeholders to discuss what further assistance the United Nations can offer to that end.

Asked if the Secretary-General will be meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi, the Spokeswoman said that Ban Ki-moon has asked to meet with all major stakeholders, including the detained opposition leader.

Asked for the Secretary-General’s reaction to the fact that witnesses for the defense in the ongoing trial of Aung San Suu Kyi were not allowed to testify, Montas reiterated the Secretary-General’s earlier demand that all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, be released.

Montas, in response to a question on media participation in the trip, explained that the Secretary-General’s trip was only confirmed this morning. She added that there was no formal invitation to correspondents because of the uncertainties surrounding the trip, and the small group of eight reporters selected came from a list of pending requests.

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