( dpa )- United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday called on Myanmar's military government to receive the UN's envoy Ibrahim Gambari "without delay" and to hold talks with opposition leaders well before planned general elections in 2010.
Ban acknowledged the decision by the junta last week to set dates for a constitutional referendum in May and multi-party democratic elections in 2010. The junta also said it would free opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi six months before the elections.
But Ban called on the junta to engage in substantive and time-bound talks with Suu Kyi and other political parties to advance the process of national reconciliation. Suu Kyi, leader of the National League of Democracy, has been under house arrest for more than a decade.
Gambari has been seeking to make a third visit to Yangon to pursue discussions on democratic reform in Myanmar. His previous visits took place after the military crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations in August and September.