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Burma could ‘relax’ Suu Kyi’s detention

Oct 26, 2009 (DVB), Burma's military leaders could ease the conditions of Aung San Suu Kyi's detention if she upholds "a good attitude", the Burmese prime minister was quoted as saying.

The detained opposition leader has twice met with foreign envoys in recent weeks as the government appears willing to cooperate with Suu Kyi over the lifting of sanctions on Burma.

Following her sentencing in August, lawyers for Suu Kyi complained that the conditions of her house arrest were stricter than in previous years.

Suu Kyi on Saturday marked 14 years in detention, having been first been placed under house arrest in 1990 following her party's landslide election win.

The Japanese foreign minister, Kazuo Kodama, quoted the Burmese prime minister Thein Sein as saying that current measures could be "relaxed", according to Reuters.

Thai prime minister Abhisit Vejajjiva reported that Thein Sein had said he "felt optimistic that [Suu Kyi] can contribute also to the process of national reconciliation".

Southeast Asian leaders at the 15th ASEAN regional summit, which ended on Sunday, also spoke of positive signs that elections in Burma next year would be free and fair.

Burma’s prime minister "recognises full well that the rest of the world expects to see elections as inclusive as possible," Abhisit told a news conference.

Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, was quoted by Reuters as saying that there was "an atmosphere of hope that the Myanmar [Burma] leadership is moving toward normalising its relations with the United States, that they were working towards national reconciliation".

A senior-level US delegation, headed by Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Kurt Campbell, is due to visit Burma this week in what is being billed as a "fact-finding mission".

Campbell last week testified in front of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on US policy to Burma, warning that engagement with the military generals would "be a long, slow, and step-by-step process".

The itinerary of the trip is not known, although Campbell expressed hope that he could meet with both Suu Kyi and the ruling junta.

The last senior US politician to visit Burma, Jim Webb, was twice denied a meeting with Suu Kyi in August, who was then midway through the trial in which she was accused of sheltering a US citizen.

Reporting by Francis Wade


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