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Malaysia minister prepares to visit Myanmar

Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar has expressed optimism that he will travel to Myanmar this week to check on democratic reforms.

india Updated: Mar 21, 2006 17:05 IST

Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar on Tuesday expressed optimism that he will travel to Myanmar this week to check on democratic reforms but said his flight details were not yet confirmed.

Syed Hamid, who is travelling to Myanmar as an ASEAN special envoy, said over the weekend he would visit this month but that the date of the trip would remain a secret to avoid excessive publicity.

When asked on Tuesday if he was going this week, he replied "Insyallah (God willing)."

When pressed on the date, he told reporters: "I should be going, I am trying to get a flight, I don't have a flight yet."

Syed Hamid was originally due to visit in January, but Myanmar's military government said it was too busy relocating the national capital to receive him.

The visit has apparently stalled on the envoy's insistence on meeting pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has spent most of the last 16 years in jail or under house arrest.

Myanmar is under heavy international pressure to undertake democratic reforms.

The junta brutally crushed pro-democracy demonstrations in 1988 and two years later rejected the result of national elections won by Aung San Suu Kyi.

The 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) decided to send Sayed Hamid to Myanmar at its annual meeting in December.

First Published: Mar 21, 2006 17:05 IST