U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called first lady Laura Bush on Tuesday to thank her for her support for the people of Myanmar and to keep international attention on the crisis there, the White House said.

The United Nations will continue to pressure the military junta in Myanmar, also called Burma, to end its crackdown on protests and to stop arresting those participating in nonviolent demonstrations, Ban told the first lady.

"Mrs. Bush expressed her hope that the international community will help to effect positive and peaceful change in Burma," her press secretary, Sally McDonough, said in a statement.

Ban also reported that the military regime had appointed a senior official to begin a dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of Burma's popularly elected National League for Democracy Party.

"Mrs. Bush believes that the regime's appointment ... will be seen as a genuine effort toward national reconciliation when they release Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners," McDonough said.