RANGOON — The UN secretary-general’s visit to military-ruled Burma was a failure but it was not his fault, the opposition party of Aung San Suu Kyi said Sunday.
The failure was because of “a lack of willingness and genuine goodwill on the part of the government,” said Nyan Win, spokesman for Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon ended a two-day mission to Burma on Saturday, saying he was “deeply disappointed” that the country’s military ruler had rejected his requests to visit Suu Kyi in jail.
“Mr. Ban’s visit was not successful, as he was unable to achieve his main goals and was not allowed to meet Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,” said Nyan Win. “It is understandable that the secretary-general was disappointed.”
“Daw” is a term of respect used for older women.
In two days of rare talks with Snr-Gen Than Shwe, the UN chief urged the reclusive 76-year-old autocrat to release Suu Kyi and an estimated 2,100 other political prisoners and embark on democratic reforms ahead of elections scheduled for next year.
The visit achieved no immediate results. The 64-year-old Suu Kyi, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, has been under house arrest for 14 of the past 20 years. Her opposition party won national elections in 1990, but Burma’s generals refused to relinquish power.
In May, Suu Kyi was charged with violating the terms of her house arrest when an uninvited American man swam secretly to her lakeside home and stayed for two days. Suu Kyi’s trial was set to resume after a monthlong delay on Friday, the same day the UN chief arrived. But the court met for a brief session to adjourn until July 10.
“I pressed as hard as I could” to see Suu Kyi, Ban told reporters Saturday after meeting with Than Shwe. “I had hoped that he would agree to my request, but it is regrettable that he did not.”
Burma has been ruled by a military government since 1962.