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Myanmar gives go-ahead for ASEAN envoy's visit

Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid has been given the go-ahead to lead an ASEAN delegation to visit Myanmar next month.

india Updated: Mar 20, 2006 15:24 IST

Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar has been given the go-ahead to lead an Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN) delegation to visit Myanmar next month, a senior aide to the minister said on Monday.

The delegation is to view the progress of democracy in the military-ruled country.

"The foreign minister has been informed by Myanmar that he will be able to lead a team next month, but we have yet to confirm and release the exact dates," ministry aide Rosleli Jahari said.

The announcement of the April trip comes after several cancellations by the Myanmar government for unspecified reasons.

Rosleli said that Myanmar's ruling junta has indicated that Albar would be able to meet pro-democracy activist and Nobel Peace prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, who remains under house arrest.

"The minister would most likely be able to meet her," he stated.

ASEAN comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Under pressure from the international community, ASEAN members at their annual meeting in Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur in December reached an agreement with Yangon (Rangoon) to allow Albar to visit as an envoy to check on the progress of democracy in the country.

Myanmar's junta had crushed pro-democracy demonstrations in 1988 and two years later rejected the result of national elections won by Aung San Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy.

The pro-democracy leader has spent more than 10 of the last 16 years under house arrest.

First Published: Mar 20, 2006 15:24 IST