Secret Envoy Paves Way for Burma Visit by UN Chief

Ban to press for Aung San Suu Kyi release
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 26, 2009 5:54 AM CDT
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivers remarks on the world's food and security problems during a speech at Saint Louis University Friday, June 12, 2009, in St. Louis.   (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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(Newser) – A UN special envoy began a secret trip to Burma today to pave the way for a possible visit by Ban Ki-moon, the secretary general, that would be politically delicate because of the continuing trial of imprisoned opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Human rights groups are urging Ban not to visit now, fearing that the junta could exploit his trip, but Suu Kyi's supporters want him to come while she is in court.

The envoy's visit today has not been disclosed by the UN, but some officials in Burma's diplomatic community spoke openly about it. Ban has visited the isolated nation before: Last year he was instrumental in getting the isolated government to admit more foreign relief workers after the devastating cyclone. Another factor complicating Ban's plans is the North Korean ship thought to be transporting weapons to the regime, which could arrive at the same time.