New York, NY (BBN) – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on Myanmar’s Government and opposition to increase dialogue as the Asian country proceeds on the path toward national reconciliation and democratization.

“The political challenges of any transition to democracy require negotiated political solutions,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon writes in his latest report to the General Assembly on the situation of human rights in Burma, officially known as Myanmar.

“As the country reaches a delicate juncture in its political development, there is no real alternative to a peaceful process of national reconciliation and now is the time for the Government and opposition alike to find ways to talk to each other and work together in the interest of the nation,” he said.

The report highlights development in Myanmar between 23 October 2007 and 5 September 2008, as well as the activities of the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser, Ibrahim Gambari, who visited the country three times during that period, according to a UN press statement.

Myanmar’s authorities are in the process of preparing for general elections scheduled for 2010 – the next step in the seven-step road map for democracy outlined by the government.

Noting that there is no alternative to dialogue to ensure that all stakeholders can contribute to the future of their country, the UN chief stressed that the release of detained opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners will be key for the resumption of an enhanced, all-inclusive substantive and time-bound dialogue.

BBN/SI/SS/AD-21October08-10:15 AM (BST)