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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 June, 2003, 06:58 GMT 07:58 UK
Burmese military defiant over Suu Kyi
Aung San Suu Kyi supporter protests outside Burma's embassy in Thailand
The pro-democracy leader attracted big crowds while touring
The Burmese military leadership has maintained its defiant posture in the face of mounting world criticism over the detention of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

General Khin Nyunt - the junta's number three - criticised the pro-democracy leader for allegedly provoking the "untoward events" of 30 May, when a violent confrontation erupted in a northern provincial town.

Dozens are feared to have died, and Aung San Suu Kyi is herself thought to have been injured, but there is as yet no independent confirmation of what happened.

Meanwhile, a UN envoy in Burma said he was "still talking" to the government about Aung San Suu Kyi, but had as yet been unable to secure a commitment to her release or any agreement that he will be allowed to see her.

Razali Ismail arrived on Friday and is scheduled to stay in Burma until Tuesday.

But UN officials have hinted strongly that he may leave early if he is not allowed to see Aung San Suu Kyi.

General's rebuke

In a speech to a group of school teachers quoted in state media on Sunday, General Khin Nyunt said: "Untoward events occurred on 30 May since some people were misled into following the misinterpretation of democracy.

"With or without foreign assistance, the Union of Myanmar will continue to strive for the emergence of a peaceful, developed and democratic nation enlisting our own national forces in accordance with the national objectives, Myanmar social values and social norms," he said.

Myanmar is another name for Burma.

AUNG SAN SUU KYI
Supporters of Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi outside the Burmese embassy in London
1990: National League for Democracy (NLD) wins general election while Suu Kyi under house arrest; military does not recognise the result
1991: Wins Nobel Peace Prize
1995: Released from house arrest, but movements restricted
2000-02: Second period of house arrest
May 2003: Detained after clash between NLD and government forces

On Saturday, he blamed Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy for steering a "course of confrontation" that resulted in the 30 May violence.

She was taken into what military authorities described as "protective custody" after the violence, which the military junta said had left four people dead and 50 injured.

The military authorities said she was not injured during the clashes, but no-one has been allowed to see her and there is mounting concern for her health and safety.

Exiled opposition figures in Thailand say up to 70 people died in the incident.

Officials from the United States embassy in Rangoon, who have visited the scene, said it appeared to have been a deliberate attack by "government-affiliated thugs".

Mr Razali helped broker peace talks between Aung San Suu Kyi and the military more than two years ago.

It led to her release last May after nearly 20 months under house arrest, but progress has since stalled.

Burma has been condemned for its apparent retreat from reconciliation with Aung San Suu Kyi, with threats of added economic sanctions from the United States and European Union.

Thailand protests

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Friday said he was "gravely concerned" about her detention, and the reported detention of other leaders in her National League for Democracy.

In an unusual step, Thailand has called for her release and said it had been given assurances she was unharmed and the detention was temporary.

Thailand, which has prickly relations with its secretive neighbour, rarely comments on Burmese affairs.

Since her release, Aung San Suu Kyi has attracted large crowds during her travels around the country.

Under her leadership, the National League for Democracy won 1990 elections by a landslide but the military junta refused to hand over power.


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