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Japan: Burma Could Ease Aung San Suu Kyi's Detention

By VOA News
24 October 2009

Japanese officials say a top Burmese official has suggested the military regime could ease restrictions on opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest.

The officials quote Burma's prime minister, General Thein Sein, as telling a group of Southeast Asian leaders Saturday that authorities could relax the current measures against Aung San Suu Kyi if she, in his words, "maintains a good attitude."

Aung San Suu Kyi has in the past supported international sanctions against Burma as a means to pressure the military regime to restore democracy. But recently, she said she is willing to work with the government to get the sanctions lifted.

Earlier this month, Aung San Suu Kyi discussed the issue with a Burmese government official and was then allowed to meet with U.S., Australian and British diplomats.

Southeast Asian nations are meeting in Thailand to discuss a range of issues, including human rights, as they seek to form a regional political and economic bloc by 2015.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last month urged Southeast Asian nations to put pressure on Burma to release all of its political prisoners and start a dialogue with the opposition ahead of next year's elections.

Burma's military regime has held Aung San Suu Kyi under some form of detention for 14 of the past 20 years. Her house arrest was extended by an additional 18 months in August for allowing an uninvited American man to stay at her home without official permission.

The international community has denounced Aung San Suu Kyi's conviction, accusing the military of using it as an excuse to prevent her from participating in next year's elections.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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