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Aung San Suu Kyi leaves house to meet official

world Updated: Oct 25, 2007 16:22 IST

AFP
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Myanmar's detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi left her house on Thursday to meet a senior official, believed to be a liaison appointed by the junta to work with the opposition, an official said.

"She left her house at about 2:00 pm. She is likely to meet with the labour minister at a state guesthouse," the official said, referring to Aung Kyi, who was appointed to maintain relations with the Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Aung San Suu Kyi, who has spent 12 of the past 18 years under house arrest, last left her lakeside home on October 2, when she met UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari at a military guesthouse in Yangon.

Thursday would mark her first meeting with Aung Kyi, who was appointed following a recommendation by Gambari that the junta name an official to develop ties with Aung San Suu Kyi.

It comes amid increasing diplomatic pressure ahead of Gambari's expected second visit to Myanmar since the junta's violent crackdown on peaceful anti-government protests in September, which left at least 13 people dead.

Gambari, who is scheduled to arrive in the first week of November, will be followed by Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, the UN special rapporteur on human rights.

Junta chief Than Shwe appointed Aung Kyi earlier this month amid an international outcry over the crackdown.

Buddhist monks led the protests, which saw up to 100,000 people in the streets of the country's main city Yangon, were the biggest challenge to military rule in nearly two decades.

More than 2,100 people were locked up as security forces suppressed the demonstrations with live rounds, baton charges and teargas.

The junta rarely has any direct dealings with Aung San Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy (NLD) won 1990 elections but was never allowed to govern.

In naming Aung Kyi, the ruling generals seemed to indicate the military was prepared for at least a minimal level of contact.

Than Shwe has made an offer to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi, although the proposal hinged on major conditions including a demand that she drop her support for international sanctions on the regime.