Ban Ki Moon Meets Suu Kyi in Burma

May 1, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Ky
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon (L) and Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi walk out of her residence to address reporters following a meeting in Yangon on May 1. (Soe Than Win/AFP/GettyImages)

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon met with Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi for the first time on Tuesday.

“She has been a symbol of our hope for human rights for all, all around the world,” Ban said.

Suu Kyi and 42 other members of her National League for Democracy party were elected to the Burmese parliament on April 1 in landmark by-elections.

“I am sure that she will play a very constructive and active role as a parliamentarian for the betterment and well-being of this great country,” Ban said.

The Secretary-General noted that Burma has been on the path to democratic reform after decades of military rule.

“They deserve our support. They deserve the support of the whole international community,” he said.

Since the April 1 vote, and in view of the recent political reforms, the European Union announced it would suspend most sanctions on Burma (also called Myanmar).

With the removal of sanctions, Ban said Burma’s opening up to the rest of the world “is ripe with potential and expectation for business and investment.

“Atop the list of priorities are jobs and income opportunities, especially for the many young people whose talents and creativity are waiting to be tapped,” he added.

At a press conference, Ban said he was leaving with “profound hope and expectation” in the future of the country.