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Suu Kyi to meet with senior party colleagues

Dec 15, 2009 (DVB), Burma's ruling junta has granted detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi permission to hold a rare meeting with senior party members, according to a party spokesperson.

Burma's chief of police, Khin Yi, yesterday visited the house of National League for Democracy (NLD) chairman, Aung Shwe, and relayed the plan for Suu Kyi to meet with him and two other NLD members, according to NLD spokesperson Khin Maung Swe.

Also present at the meeting will be NLD secretary U Lwin, and Central Executive Committee (CEC) member, Loon Tin. The date and location of the meeting is not yet known.

Suu Kyi, who was sentenced in August to 18 months under house arrest, is rarely allowed to meet with party members or set foot outside of her Rangoon house-cum-prison.

State-media in Burma reported last month that she had rejected a separate meeting with party members on the grounds that detained vice-chairman Tin Oo would be barred from attending. The government had granted permission for the meeting following a request by US official Kurt Campbell, who made a high-profile visit to Burma in November.

Khin Maung Swe said that the looming meeting stemmed from a request included in the letter sent by Suu Kyi to junta supremo Than Shwe last month that she be allowed to cooperate with her party.

The letter also emphasized dialogue between the junta and opposition members over the lifting of sanctions on Burma, and included a request for Suu Kyi to meet with CEC members prior to a meeting with Than Shwe.

"As for the first step [sanctions], she met with government liaison minister U Aung Kyi [last week]," said Khin Maung Swe. "And for the second step, as requested, we can see pragmatic signs that she will be allowed to meet with the elders to pay her respect."

"As for the last step, the request for a meeting with Senior General Than Shwe could also happen, we hope," he said. "We must welcome the possibility of this occurring."

Meanwhile, Suu Kyi's lawyers have requested a meeting with her to discuss her looming court appeal, according to a letter sent to government officials yesterday.

"We don't know yet which day it'll be, or what time we will be allowed to see her," said lawyer Nyan Win. "When we met last time, she told us the subjects that need to be added, notated and taken out [of the appeal]. We have revised these and need to show her it again to get her approval."

He added that they hoped to see Suu Kyi before 21 December, the day that the defence will present her appeal over her house arrest.

Reporting by Khin Hnin Htet

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