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US senator to meet Suu Kyi on Myanmar trip: official

world Updated: Jun 03, 2010 17:04 IST

A US senator is to meet detained democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi and her colleagues as well as members of Myanmar's junta during a visit to the military-ruled country starting today, officials have said.

Democratic lawmaker Jim Webb, who last year secured the release of an American jailed for swimming to Suu Kyi's home, was due to arrive in the administrative capital Naypyidaw today evening.

"He will meet the prime minister and related officials," a Myanmar official, who asked not to be named, told AFP.

"He will meet politicians and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi before he leaves," the official added. Daw is a term of respect in Myanmar. Webb is due to fly out of economic hub Yangon, where Suu Kyi is under house arrest, on Saturday night.

His visit comes ahead of elections planned in the Southeast Asian country for the end of this year, which critics have dismissed as a sham due to laws that have effectively barred opposition leader Suu Kyi from participating.

Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), was dissolved last month after refusing to re-register as a political party, a move that would have forced it to expel its own leader because she is serving a prison term.

Seven senior members of the dissolved NLD will meet Webb, a strong supporter of engaging Myanmar, on Saturday afternoon in Yangon.

"We hope for small changes because of his visit," said NLD spokesman Nyan Win, without giving further details.