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Junta says its working on reforms

Detained democracy leader received rare front-page billing, which said the ruling junta was "putting energy" into democratic reforms demanded by the international community.

world Updated: Nov 10, 2007 13:26 IST

Detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi received rare front-page billing on Saturday in Myanmar's state-controlled press, which said the ruling junta was "putting energy" into democratic reforms demanded by the international community.

Suu Kyi was allowed to meet leaders of her opposition party yesterday for the first time in more than three years and told them she believes the generals intend to work toward democracy after decades of repression.

Immediately before and after talks with her political allies, Suu Kyi met with Aung Kyi, the general appointed as the "minister for relations" with the opposition leader, according to the New Light of Myanmar newspaper.

The regime's tightly controlled newspapers published a photograph of Suu Kyi and Aung Kyi, smiling and shaking hands at a government guest house - an indication the government was keen to publicise the meeting even though it has not commented on what was discussed.

It was the third time in a month that Suu Kyi's image has appeared in state-controlled media, which refused for years to print her picture or even refer to her by name.

"While putting energy into the democratisation process, the government has been making efforts for the national reconsolidation," the New Light of Myanmar wrote in its front-page story. It did not elaborate.

The junta, which came under renewed international pressure after it crushed pro-democracy demonstrations led by Buddhist monks in September, allowed Suu Kyi to meet her party's officials after the latest in a series of visits by UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari.