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Sunday, 28 April, 2002, 16:14 GMT 17:14 UK
Burma talks 'make progress'
Aung San Suu Kyi speaking to supporters in 1997
Aung San Suu Kyi remains under house arrest
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By Larry Jagan
BBC correspondent in Rangoon
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The Burmese Government says progress has been made in the secret talks with the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

This will be clarified in a statement to be released in a few days' time, a senior minister told the BBC.

UN special envoy Razali Ismail
Mr Razali is optimistic
On Friday, the United Nations envoy for Burma, Razali Ismail, said he expected significant political developments in Rangoon soon.

Many believe this will include the release of opposition leader from house arrest.

For more than 18 months, the Burmese military government has been in secret talks with Aung San Suu Kyi. But in recent weeks, the international community has been voicing its impatience at the lack of progress in the dialogue brokered by the UN envoy.

'Significant'

The Burmese Deputy Foreign Minister, Khin Maung Win, told the BBC that there would be significant developments in the dialogue process very soon.

Another senior Burmese minister, Tin Win, said a government statement in the next few days would explain what progress had been made in the talks.

General Than Shwe
Burma's ruling generals have yet to agree to release the opposition leader
The UN envoy's report to the UN has fuelled speculation that a major breakthrough in the dialogue process is imminent.

There is no doubt that the National League for Democracy leaders believe Aung San Suu Kyi is going to be freed soon and able to resume an active political role.

But it is far from clear that this will in fact happen in the next few days.

Pressure grows

Three months ago exactly, the opposition leader met the country's top three generals - General Than Shwe, General Maung Aye and Lieutenant-General Khin Nyunt for dinner.

But even that did not secure her release.

Europe, the United States and Japan have all warned Rangoon that, unless there is significant progress soon, they will be forced to consider isolating the country further and even introducing trade sanctions.

Only Aung San Suu Kyi's release would satisfy them.

But diplomats here remain cautious that this will in fact happen soon.

See also:

24 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
Q&A: Background to Burma talks
24 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
UN envoy holds Burma talks
23 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
Burma set for key UN talks
19 Mar 02 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Burma's secret talks
22 Mar 02 | Asia-Pacific
Burma's hollow gains
18 Mar 02 | Asia-Pacific
UN envoy's Burma trip is cancelled
18 Mar 02 | Asia-Pacific
Behind Burma's 'non-coup'
30 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
Aung San Suu Kyi meets Burma general
06 Sep 01 | Asia-Pacific
Burma opposition denies 'power share'
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