Suu Kyi requests talks with junta chief

Nov 16, 2009 (DVB), Detained Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has requested a rare meeting with the leader of the country's ruling junta, Than Shwe, in a letter sent last week to the capital Naypyidaw.

It is the second letter in a month that Suu Kyi has sent to Than Shwe, who has presided over the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) since 1992.

"I would like to earnestly request permission to meet you so that we can talk about cooperating with the State Peace and Development Council in working in the interest of the nation," she said in the letter, obtained by Reuters.

According to senior National League for Democracy (NLD) member, Win Tin, the letter "expressed that she was willing to work for dialogue and the national reconciliation" in Burma.

Communication between the junta and the 64-year-old Nobel laureate, who in August was sentenced to a further 18 months under house arrest, has increased in the past month in what appears to be a step further towards dialogue between the military generals and opposition.

In October she met twice with the government's liaison minister, Aung Kyi, after she first sent a letter to Than Shwe urging cooperation over the lifting of western sanctions on Burma.

She also expressed thanks for her meeting with senior United States' official Kurt Campbell earlier this month, and requested permission to meet with three detained NLD members before her meeting with Than Shwe.

The government had earlier granted permission for several members of the NLD to meet with Suu Kyi, whose house arrest conditions stipulate no contact with her party, but she rejected the offer.

According to state-media in Burma, it was because of the government's decision not to allow NLD vice-chairperson Tin Oo, who was placed under house arrest in 2003 along with Suu Kyi, to attend the meeting that she declined.

Suu Kyi last month marked her fourteenth year under house arrest, having been first sentenced following the NLD's landslide election victory in 1990.

A lawyer for Suu Kyi, Nyan Win, said that an appeal over her house arrest had been sent to Burma's central court in Rangoon on Friday, following an earlier rejection by the divisional court.

Reporting by Francis Wade and Thurein Soe

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