Moon to meet Myanmar junta head again


UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is to hold an unscheduled second meeting with the leader of Myanmar's military junta on Saturday, a UN spokesman said.

Ban held talks with regime leader Than Shwe on Friday in which the Myanmar leader stalled on allowing the head of the world body to visit democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi.

"There will be a second meeting at 9:30 am (0300 GMT) on Saturday," UN spokesman Marie Okabe said Friday. No other meeting had been planned following Friday's talks in the remote capital Naypyidaw.

Ban would also give an unprecedented public address in Myanmar before his departure on Saturday evening, although the format had not yet been established, said senior UN officials travelling with Ban.

He had earlier called on Than Shwe to free all political prisoners including Aung San Suu Kyi and to allow him to visit the Nobel Peace laureate, who is currently on trial for breaching the terms of her house arrest.

But there was still no word on whether he would be permitted a meeting with 64-year-old Aung San Suu Kyi.

The UN officials said there had been a "very lively exchange of views" after Ban proposed a five-point agenda for democratic reforms in Myanmar, which has been ruled by the military since 1962.

There was "considerable resistance" from the Myanmar side to the proposals, they said.

The agenda included new calls for the establishment of a UN "good offices" bureau in Yangon, which would provide a permanent structure in the country for Ban and his special UN envoy to Myanmar, Ibrahim Gambari.

He also proposed setting up a broad-based economic forum to help the country, which remains one of the world's poorest despite its rich natural resources including gas reserves.

The other points reiterated Ban's earlier calls for the release of political prisoners, the resumption of dialogue with the opposition and the holding of free and fair elections in 2010, the officials said.