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Friday, 15 March, 2002, 11:21 GMT
Rumours fly around EU Burma visit
Aung San Suu Kyi at her home in 1995
Generals may be split over dealings with Aung San Suu Kyi
A high-level European Union delegation visiting Burma has met members of the pro-democracy opposition amid continuing rumours of a power struggle in the military government.

The EU team, which is expected to meet opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi later on Friday, is in Burma to encourage the government to make democratic reforms.

Coup or power struggle?
8 March: Four of Ne Win's relatives arrested
12 March: Government gives details of 'coup plot'
13 March: EU team arrives in Rangoon
14 March: General Khin Nyunt unavailable for EU appointment
15 March: EU team meets NLD
But correspondents say speculation of a power struggle among the senior generals over how to deal with the opposition is rife in the capital Rangoon.

The rumours are being fuelled by the announcement just days before the EU delegation arrived that the government had foiled a coup plotted by the family of the former military ruler, Ne Win.

General 'unavailable'

Observers say the allegations and arrests of members of Ne Win's family may indicate disagreements over the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD).

Military intelligence chief Lieutenant General Khin Nyunt, who favours dialogue with the NLD, was reportedly not available for a scheduled meeting with the EU diplomats on Thursday.

Khin Nyunt is thought to be opposed by army chief General Maung Aye, whose supporters are against making any concessions to Aung San Suu Kyi. She has been confined by the authorities to her Rangoon home since September 2000.

Burma analyst Larry Jagan says Khin Nyunt and Maung Aye, along with head of state General Than Shwe make up a political triumvirate that wields complete power in Burma.

The government has been in closed-door reconciliation talks with Aung San Suu Kyi since October 2000, and both sides have indicated they do not expect the alleged coup plot to derail their dialogue.

Coup arrests

The government said the alleged coup plot was masterminded by Ne Win's son-in-law Aye Zaw Win and three of Aye Zaw Win's sons.

They were arrested last Thursday at a Chinese restaurant where they were said to have been meeting an unnamed military commander.

Ne Win - now in his 90s - seized control of Burma in 1962 and continued to wield influence after he stepped down in 1988.

See also:

13 Mar 02 | Asia-Pacific
Burma releases women as EU visit starts
12 Mar 02 | Asia-Pacific
Burma reveals 'coup plot'
28 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
Burma's unmoving generals
10 Mar 02 | Asia-Pacific
Top Burma officials sacked
08 Mar 02 | Asia-Pacific
Burma turns on the charm
04 Mar 02 | Asia-Pacific
Burma sanctions: The case for
04 Mar 02 | Asia-Pacific
Burma sanctions: The case against
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