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US Expresses Concern For Aung San Suu Kyi's Surgery - 2003-09-19


The United States is expressing concern for Burma's detained opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, amid reports that she underwent surgery at a Rangoon hospital.

A U.S. State Department spokeswoman (Nancy Beck) Thursday said Washington is aware of the reports that Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi was hospitalized with a gynecological problem, but it has no independent confirmation.

The spokeswoman said U.S. officials remain very concerned about Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi's situation. She repeated a U.S. call for Burma's military government to release the Nobel laureate and all other political prisoners.

The leader of Burma's National League for Democracy was admitted to a private hospital Wednesday night and underwent surgery Thursday. Details of her condition were not immediately available, but media reports from the region quote hospital sources as saying the operation was successful.

Meanwhile Thursday, the foreign secretary of the Philippines, Blas Ople, warned Burma not to reject a visit from an Indonesian envoy seeking Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi's release. Mr. Ople said the envoy, Ali Alatas, offers Burma an opportunity to resolve the issue in a manner that is acceptable to all.

Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi has been held out of public contact at an undisclosed location since May 30th. She was detained after a clash between her supporters and a pro-government mob in the north of the country.

Burma's ruling generals cracked down on the democracy movement after her detention. Their action ended a fragile reconciliation process brokered in October, 2000, by the United Nations special envoy to Burma, Razali Ismail.

Since her detention, the United States, Japan and the European Union have imposed harsh sanctions on the ruling generals in Rangoon, including freezing their assets and refusing to issue them visas.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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