UN's Ban heads to Norway, no comment on harsh memo

UNITED NATIONS, Aug 24 (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will travel to Norway next week, despite controversy caused by the leak of a Norwegian memo that was highly critical of him, the United Nations said on Monday.

Ban flies to Austria on Thursday and from there to Norway, U.N. spokeswoman Michele Montas told reporters in New York.

Asked if Ban would be discussing the leaked memo, in which Norway's Deputy U.N. Ambassador Mona Juul said the secretary-general suffered from a "lack of charisma," Montas said it was an "internal matter" for Norway and Ban had nothing to say about it.

"This is not for the secretary-general to comment over," she said. "It's an internal memo."

Over the weekend, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said it was unfortunate the memo had been leaked.

"I regret that it happened, but let me stress that this is a report to the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, it was not a statement by the Norwegian government," Stoere told reporters.

Juul accused Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister, of weak, ineffective and at times counterproductive leadership, the Norwegian daily Aftenposten reported last week.

Ban is halfway through a five-term stint as secretary-general.

During the trip to Norway, Ban intends to visit the Arctic region in order to see melting polar ice and the impact of global warming on the North Pole. (Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; editing by Alan Elsner)