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Suu Kyi meets with senior junta official

Oct 5, 2009 (DVB), Detained Burma opposition leader Aung San San Kyi held rare talks with a senior government official on Saturday, following a letter sent by her to junta supremo Than Shwe.

Suu Kyi, who last week had an appeal against her house arrest rejected by a Rangoon court, met with junta liaison officer Aung Kyi for the first time in two years.

The state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper said on Saturday that the meeting, which lasted for 40 minutes at a guesthouse in Rangoon, was organized after Suu Kyi last month wrote a letter to Than Shwe.

The letter reportedly offered suggestions for how the junta and NLD could cooperate over the lifting of sanctions on Burma.

National League for Democracy (NLD) party spokesperson Nyan Win said that party members welcomed the meeting, despite it being unclear what exactly was discussed.

"That's what the NLD and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi have been looking for; to hold meetings and talks, and to negotiate," he said. "We hope that there are more crucial meetings in the future."

Senior NLD member Win Tin said however that the party remained wary of any propaganda attempts by the government.

The meeting came in the same week that the US announced it would begin direct engagement with the ruling junta in Burma, after years of isolationist policy.

Win Tin said that if the meeting took place to "buy some credit" for the junta following Washington's announcement, "then there wouldn't be much outcome from this".

Suu Kyi on Friday had an appeal against her house arrest rejected by a Rangoon court. She was sentenced in August to 18 months under house arrest following a visit by US citizen John Yettaw to her compound in May.

The announcement by the US comes after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced in February that more than a decade of sanctions on Burma had failed to shift the ruling junta.

The release of Suu Kyi, who has spent 14 of the past 20 years under house arrest, has been labeled by the US as a prerequisite for the lifting of sanctions, while critics of the junta see her verdict as a ploy to keep her in detention beyond the elections next year.

Reporting by Thurein Soe and Ahunt Phone Myat


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