Burma minister to meet Suu Kyi

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The Independent Online

Myanmar's junta appointed an official liaison yesterday for contact with detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, amid intense international pressure for talks with the country's pro-democracy movement.

Meanwhile, activists said residents of Yangon, the country's biggest city, are still showing anti-government opposition by harassing soldiers after a recent violent military crackdown on anti-junta demonstrators led by Buddhist monks.

It appeared that new liaison official Aung Kyi — a deputy government minister — will coordinate all contacts with Suu Kyi by both the junta and the United Nations, which is seeking to end Myanmar's long-running political deadlock.

Suu Kyi, 62, has spent about 12 of the past 18 years in detention without trial.

Deputy Labor Minister Aung Kyi has been named "liaison minister," state radio and television announced Monday night.

His exact duties were not detailed. The announcement did not say when he might first meet with Suu Kyi, now under house arrest.

The government announced last week that junta leader Senior Gen. Than Shwe was willing to meet with Suu Kyi — but only if she met certain conditions, like renouncing support for foreign countries' economic sanctions against the military regime.

Than Shwe has only met Suu Kyi once before, in 2002.

It remains unknown if Suu Kyi will accept the offer, which also demanded she drop her alleged efforts backing "confrontation" and "utter devastation." The ruling generals have accused her and her party of collaborating with foreign nations to sabotage their own plans for a phased return to democracy.

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