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UN Envoy to Visit Burma September 30th - 2003-09-23


United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan is sending his top envoy to Burma next week to meet detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and to discuss the national reconciliation process with the country's ruling military.

A U.N. spokesman Monday said Razali Ismail will visit Burma from September 30th through October second. Mr. Razali will be in New York Tuesday for consultations ahead of the trip.

The spokesman says Mr. Annan expects his envoy will be allowed to meet with the detained Nobel peace laureate, and has been instructed to assess her condition after almost four months of secret detention.

The envoy will also meet with Burmese leaders about securing Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi's immediate and unconditional release, as well as ways to revive talks with her National League for Democracy. The NLD won a 1990 election but has not been allowed to govern.

The announcement of Mr. Razali's 11th mission to Burma comes as a special envoy from Indonesia is in the capital, Rangoon, in a bid to gain Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi's freedom.

Former Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas met with Prime Minister Khin Nyunt for more than an hour Monday and is scheduled to meet the country's top leader, General Than Shwe, on Tuesday. Mr. Alatas requested a meeting with the democracy campaigner but told Reuters Monday he is not certain the military government will grant his request.

Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi is recovering at a private hospital after undergoing surgery last week. Her doctor says she is eating solid food and is able to walk, but will not be receiving visitors.

Analysts say her recovery from surgery may provide Burma's ruling generals with a face-saving way to shift Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi from detention to house arrest. Until she was admitted to the hospital, she had been held at an undisclosed location since a May 30th clash between her supporters and a group of pro-government demonstrators.

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

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