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US envoy to meet with Suu Kyi

Senior US diplomat Kurt Campbell, who arrived in Burma yesterday, is today due to meet with the detained Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

The visit by the deputy secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific Affairs comes days after Suu Kyi’s opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party was legally dissolve after refusing to run in elections this year.

Sources told DVB that Campbell was due to meet with Suu Kyi today at around midday. This will follow a 10am meeting between Campbell and two senior NLD members, Win Tin and Nyan Win.

An official from the US embassy in Rangoon told DVB that Campbell will then hold a photo opportunity at the State Guest House this afternoon and a press conference at the American Centre at 7pm.

Campbell told reporters in Bangkok yesterday that Washington had “very real concerns about the elections laws and the environment that’s been created” for polls this year, which critics claim are a ploy to cement military rule in Burma.

Upon his arrival in Burma yesterday afternoon, he travelled to the remote capital Naypyidaw and met with government ministers, including information minister Kyaw Hsan.

It appears he was denied a meeting with the reclusive junta leader, Than Shwe, who regularly snubs visiting diplomats who aren’t from the handful of countries still allied to the military regime.

Details of what he will discuss with Suu Kyi have not be made public, although talks will likely focus on the demise of the NLD, who until 6 May were Burma’s principal opposition party.

Several senior members of the party announced last week that they would form another party, the National Democratic Force, and register for the elections, rumoured to be in October. The fate of Suu Kyi, who is due to be released in November, remains uncertain.

Campbell met with Suu Kyi during a visit to Burma in November last year, two months after she was found guilty of ‘sheltering’ US citizen John Yettaw and sentenced to a further 18 months under house arrest.

That trip marked the most senior-level US visit to Burma in 14 years, and marked an apparent shift in attitude from the junta who often block her from meeting foreigners.

The US has however voiced dissatisfaction with the lack of real progress made by the junta toward democratic reform since Washington announced last year that it would begin dialogue with Naypyidaw after years of isolation.


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