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Indonesian Envoy Meets Burma's Top Leader - 2003-09-23


An Indonesian envoy seeking the release of detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has met with Burma's top military leader.

The envoy, Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas, and Senior General Than Shwe met for almost an hour today (Tuesday).

Details of their meeting were not immediately available, but Mr. Alatas was expected to deliver a message from the Indonesian government calling for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Indonesia is the current chair of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations and is expected to convey growing concerns about Aung San Suu Kyi's detention among the group's members.

ASEAN will hold a summit of Southeast Asian leaders next month in Bali and Jakarta does not want the fate of the detained democracy leader high on the agenda.

Mr. Alatas is also scheduled to meet Deputy Foreign Minster Khin Maung Win and will brief the media on Wednesday.

It is unclear whether the Indonesian envoy will meet with Aung San Suu Kyi before he ends his four-day visit. The 58-year-old Nobel laureate is recuperating at a Rangoon hospital after having surgery last week for a gynecological condition.

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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