UN Chief Meets with Burma President

Posted April 30th, 2012 at 1:50 am (UTC-5)
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Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said Monday a dispute with the government over the wording of a legislative oath has been resolved, and she will soon be sworn-in to become a member of parliament.

It is not immediately clear how the dispute was resolved. Her party had objected to a phrase in the swearing-in oath obligating legislators to “safeguard the constitution,” as drafted under military rule.

The Associated Press reports that Aung San Suu Kyi and the rest of her party's elected lawmakers will attend parliament for the first time on Wednesday.

In another development Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with Burma's president in a show of support for the sweeping changes in the long-isolated state. Mr. Ban met with President Thien Sein in the administrative capital, Naypyidaw.

The visit is the U.N. chief's first trip to Burma since the government introduced a series of political and economic reforms over the past year.

Mr. Ban will address the new parliament later Monday – the first such address by a visiting foreign dignitary. He is also scheduled to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi Tuesday.

The secretary-general signed an agreement Monday offering U.N. technical assistance for Burma's first census in 31 years. The population and housing census is to be conducted in 2014.

Mr. Ban said the census personnel need to have access to the whole country. He said he hoped the “current and future cease-fires will make this possible.” He said the involvement of minorities and civil society will be “crucial” to the success of the census.

Mr. Ban is also set to travel to northern Shan state, a key opium growing region, where a U.N. poppy eradication program has been established.