A U.N. spokeswoman says Burma has given permission for a visit by the special investigator for human rights in Burma.
Spokeswoman Michele Montas announced today, Monday, that special rapporteur Paulo Sergio Pinheiro will be allowed to visit for the first time since 2003.
Montas said Burma's foreign ministry suggested, in a letter sent to the U.N. Secretary General on Friday the visit should take place before Southeast Asian leaders meet on November 17th.
Pinheiro reports to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Separately, Reporters Without Borders has voiced concern over a missing news photographer and eight detained journalists. The Paris-based organization called for their immediate release.
Earlier today, Singapore's foreign minister said Southeast Asian nations are reluctant to impose sanctions on Burma because they could further isolate the military-ruled government.
George Yeo said today that the sanctions likely would be ineffective and could worsen pre-existing divisions in Burma. He warned that without the military, Burma could dissolve into civil war.
Singapore is the current chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a 10 member group that includes Burma.
U.N. envoy Ibrahim Gambari has visited Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand to lobby them to push for political reconciliation in Burma. He is in India today, Monday, and will visit China before again heading to Burma.
Gambari set out on his Asian tour after Burmese soldiers opened fire in Rangoon last month on thousands of peaceful anti-government protesters, including Buddhist monks.
At least 10 people were killed and thousands arrested in Rangoon and other cities. Pro-democracy activists say the death toll was much higher.