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UN Envoy to Burma Fails to Get Democracy Leader Released - 2003-10-02


The special United Nations envoy for Burma has failed to secure the release of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Razali Ismail left Rangoon today (Thursday) after meeting with the leader of the country's military government on the last day of a mission to have Aung San Suu Kyi freed from house arrest.

He told reporters that he had met briefly with Senior General Than Shwe, but he gave no details of their discussion. He said he will report to U-N Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

On Wednesday, Mr. Razali met with Aung San Suu Kyi for about two hours at her lakeside home in Rangoon, where she is recovering from surgery she underwent last week.

The 58-year-old pro-democracy leader has been detained by Burma's military government since late May, after a violent clash between her supporters and pro-government demonstrators.

Mr. Razali also met Wednesday with Burma's Prime Minister, Khin Nyunt. The details of the meeting were not revealed, but the diplomat's official mission was aimed at winning Aung San Suu Kyi's release and reviving Burma's national reconciliation process.

The French news agency quotes Asian diplomats as saying Aung San Suu Kyi told Mr. Ismail she is willing to work with the prime minister on a national reconciliation process.

Prime Minister Khin Nyunt unveiled a so-called road map to democracy soon after he was appointed to his post in August, but he has offered few details and refused to assign a timeline to the plan.

On Tuesday, Secretary-General Annan set a timetable for ending military rule in Burma.

In a report to the General Assembly, he urged the United Nations and the international community to work together to bring about a transition to democracy in Burma by 2006, when the country takes over the chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

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

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