TOKYO - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will strongly urge Myanmar's ruling generals to release all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, when he visits the country this week, he told reporters in Tokyo on Tuesday.
Speaking after talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone, he said he was aware of concerns about his July 3-4 visit coinciding with the trial of Suu Kyi, the main opposition leader, who has been under house arrest for years.
It may be the case that the trial happens during my visit to Myanmar. I am very much conscious of that, Ban told reporters.
I try to use this visit as an opportunity to raise in the strongest possible terms and convey the concerns of the international community of the United Nations to the highest authorities of the Myanmar government, he added.
Ban said he would press the Myanmar government to carry out a range of political reforms.
I consider that three of the most important issues for Myanmar cannot be left unaddressed at this juncture, Ban told reporters. The first, release of all political prisoners, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
The other two items were the resumption of dialogue between the government and opposition and the creation of conditions conducive to a credible election, he added.
Suu Kyi, 64, has been in prison or under house arrest on and off since 1989. The military junta that has ruled Myanmar since 1962 put her on trial again recently, accusing her of breaking the terms of her house arrest by allowing an unauthorised guest to stay at her lakeside home.
(Reporting by Isabel Reynolds; Editing by Alex Richardson)