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Razali to Return to Burma - 2003-09-29


The special United Nations envoy to Burma is to arrive in that country on Tuesday, on a mission to revive dialogue between the ruling military and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Malaysian diplomat Razali Ismail is the one who first persuaded the government to talk with the pro-democracy campaigner at the end of 2000. That dialogue has been stalled for many months.

Mr. Razali is expected to meet with senior Burmese leader General Than Shwe and with new Prime Minister Khin Nyunt. He also is expected to ask to see Aung San Suu Kyi.

The opposition leader and Nobel laureate spent nearly four months in detention at a secret location before going to a Rangoon hospital for major surgery two weeks ago. She was released from the hospital last Friday to recuperate under house arrest.

Burma's neighbors in Southeast Asia have been trying to persuade the ruling military to free Aung San Suu Kyi ahead of a regional summit on the Indonesian resort island of Bali next week.

This will be Mr. Razali's second trip to Burma since Aung San Suu Kyi was detained last May, after a violent confrontation between her supporters and pro-government demonstrators in the north of the country. His visit in early June failed to win her release from detention.

Information for this report is provided by AFP and Reuters.

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