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Yettaw visit the work of ‘anti-government elements’

May 22, 2009 (DVB), Burma's foreign minister has suggested that the visit by John Yettaw to Aung San Suu Kyi was engineered by opposition groups in Burma in order to capitalize on the mounting international pressure on the junta.

Speaking to Japan's Minister for Foreign Affairs yesterday, Nyan Win denied rumours that the incident was the work of the Burmese government, and instead could be the result of work by "external anti-government elements".

Suu Kyi faces charges of breaching conditions of her house arrest following the intrusion of Yettaw into her compound earlier this month.

Critics of the Burmese regime believe the trial is a pretext to keep Suu Kyi in detention beyond the elections next year, leading to unsubstantiated claims that the government played a hand in the incident.

The conversation between Nyan Win and Japanese FM, Hirofumi Nakasone, was reported today in the state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper.

"Minister U Nyan Win expressed his opinion that, at a time when US, Japan and European nations are reviewing their policies on Myanmar, it was likely that this incident [was trumped up], to intensify international pressure on Myanmar, by internal and external anti-government elements who do not wish to see the positive changes in those countries' policies towards Myanmar," it said.

During the conversation, Nakasone had reportedly expressed concern about how the international community may respond to Suu Kyi's trial, and urged the Burmese government to address her health conditions.

Suu Kyi was scheduled to be released on 27 May after six consecutive years under house arrest. She has been in detention without trial for more than 13 of the past 19 years.

The motives for Yettaw's visit remain murky, although he apparently told the courtroom yesterday that he had had a premonition that Suu Kyi would be assassinated.

His wife, Betty Yettaw, has said that he had wanted to interview Suu Kyi as part of a research mission on peace and forgiveness.

Reporting by Francis Wade


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