Ban briefs Group of Friends on Myanmar on latest developments

The Group of Friends on Myanmar, comprising 14 countries and one regional bloc, continue to want to see the country “respond positively and in a timely fashion to our concerns, expectations and encouragements on issues that are of fundamental importance for the future of Myanmar,” Mr. Ban told journalists after he met with them at United Nations Headquarters in New York.He said those issues include the main messages the Secretary-General delivered to Myanmar’s leadership during his visit to the country last month – where he was not allowed to meet Ms. Suu Kyi – and during discussions last week with its Permanent Representative to the UN, U Than Swe.Mr. Ban stressed last week that both he and the wider international community expect that the Government of Myanmar “will give careful consideration to the implications of any verdict in the [current] trial of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and use this opportunity to exercise its responsibility to ensure her immediate release.”The verdict in the trial of Ms. Suu Kyi was expected to be delivered last Friday, but was delayed following the Secretary-General’s encounter with the Permanent Representative of Myanmar.Today Mr. Ban also emphasized that the “active and united support of the international community is as important and necessary as ever before” so that Myanmar’s Government can tackle the major challenges facing the nation.Next month, on the sidelines of the annual opening of the General Assembly at UN Headquarters, another meeting of the Group of Friends will be held.The Group of Friends, founded in December 2007, represents a balanced range of views on Myanmar and was established to hold informal discussions and develop shared approaches to support UN efforts. Its members are Australia, China, the European Union, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Norway, Russia, Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States and Viet Nam. 5 August 2009The international community remains committed to ensuring that authorities in Myanmar release all political prisoners, including opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today after meeting with key nations to brief them on the latest developments in the Asian country.

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