Suu Kyi denies deal with junta

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The Independent Online
Bangkok - Burma's dissident leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, issued a rare message from detention pledging that there would be no secret deal with the junta over her release and reaffirming her dedication to the democracy movement. In a statement brought from Rangoon to Bangkok by her husband, Michael Aris, an Oxford don, she said she was at all times bound by the democratic duty to act with colleagues and be guided by their aspirations.

"There has not been and there will not be any secret deals with regard either to my release or any other issue," said the Nobel peace laureate, who has been held in her Rangoon home since July 1989. "I adhere to the principle of accountability and consider myself at all times bound by the democratic duty to act in consultation with colleagues."

Her statement appeared to be in response to concerns voiced by pro-democracy activists that she might agree to be released under tight restrictions which would curtail her political activities. But in her message, dated Sunday, she said she would always be "guided by the aspirations of those engaged in the movement to establish a truly democratic political system in Burma" and remained "dedicated to an active participation in this movement".

The Burmese junta has scotched speculation that it might be about to release the 49-year-old daughter of the country's independence hero, Aung San. The speculation was fuelled at the end of last year, when Ms Suu Kyi held two meetings with military leaders.

Last week the generals said she would not be freed until a constitution now being written is complete, which diplomats say could take several years.

In her message, Ms Suu Kyi said she had approached the talks with the junta leaders, on 20 September and 28 October, with "genuine good will". "It has always been the firm conviction of those working for democracy in Burma that it is only through meaningful dialogue between diverse political forces that we can achieve national reconciliation," she said.

Mr Aris discounted rumours that his wife had been permitted to meet her jailed National League for Democracy colleagues.