UN chief, Suu Kyi hold first phone call

Thursday, November 18, 2010

NEW YORK - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon held his first telephone conversation Thursday with Aung San Suu Kyi, the Myanmar pro-democracy icon, in which they called for the release of all political prisoners in the country.

They “both stressed the need for the Myanmar authorities to release all remaining political prisoners as a matter of priority”, said a statement from Ban’s office.

Western governments estimate that over 2,000 people are held in Myanmar prisons on political charges.

The two were said to have held a “warm and cordial conversation” during which Ban expressed his respect for Suu Kyi’s “courage and dignity as a source of inspiration for millions of people around the world”.

Ban said he was committed to working with all players in Myanmar, which is also known as Burma, “to build a united, peaceful, democratic and modern future for their country”.

Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, was released from house arrest last week, after spending most of the past 20 years in some form of confinement. Her party won the country’s 1990 election, but the results were disqualified by the ruling military government.

Ban last visited Myanmar in 2009, and was criticized by human rights groups after he offered positive words about the country’s ruling generals, while failing to gain access to meet with Suu Kyi.

Filed under: Politics

will not be displayed