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Burma: Government Trying To Talk With Aung San Suu Kyi - 2003-12-09


Burma's prime minister has indicated that the country's military government is trying to engage in talks with detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Khin Nyunt--in a television interview broadcast Monday in Japan--said that involving a third party in the talks with Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi would impede mutual understanding and cause confusion.

Khin Nyunt indicated the Nobel peace prize winner will not be freed until Burma holds a national convention to begin drafting a constitution. But he did not say when the convention will be held.

He also said he hopes Japan will offer more economic aid to Burma.

The interview came ahead of a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations later this week.

It aired as a team from Amnesty International toured the notorious Insein prison in Burma's capital, Rangoon, hoping to meet with political prisoners there as well as with Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi.

It is not known whether the two-person team succeeded in either effort. A government spokesman confirmed that the Amnesty team visited the prison, but declined to give specifics.

Authorities detained Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi and some of her colleagues in May after a clash between pro-democracy and pro-government forces in northern Burma.

This marks Amnesty's second mission to the Southeast Asian country this year. Burma's military government has welcomed the Amnesty mission, which is scheduled to last for 17 days.

Information for this report is provided by AFP and Reuters.

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