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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 April, 2004, 11:44 GMT 12:44 UK
Burma to invite NLD to key talks
Aung San Suu Kyi
Aung San Suu Kyi has been under house arrest since last May
Burma's military government has said it will invite the pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party to a conference on the country's future.

But there is no clear indication as to whether Aung San Suu Kyi will be freed from house arrest in order to attend.

There were reports that the junta planned to free her in time for the constitutional convention on 17 May.

But comments to that effect made by the Burmese foreign minister, Win Aung, were the result of a misunderstanding.

The issue of Aung San Suu Kyi's possible release was raised in an interview given by the minister to the Japanese broadcaster NHK.

He was reported to have confirmed that Aung San Suu Kyi would be released by 17 May.

But now, it appears that the minister had misunderstood one of the questions put to him during an interview in Bangkok, and he was in fact referring to the date of the convention.

He later told reporters that it was too early to name a date for Aung San Suu Kyi's release.

Foreign pressure

The National League for Democracy (NLD) leader has been held since last May after clashes between her supporters and a pro-junta mob.

Life of Aung San Suu Kyi
1945: Born in Burma, daughter of independence hero General Aung San, spends years abroad
1988: Returns to Burma, leads revolt against then-dictator General Ne Win but army seizes power in coup
1989: Is put under house arrest
1990: Her National League for Democracy (NLD) party wins landslide victory in general election but result ignored by military
1991: Wins Nobel Peace prize
10 July 1995: Released from house arrest
Sept 2000: Put under house arrest again after attempting to defy travel ban
May 2002: Released after secret talks with junta leaders
May 2003: Arrested again after clashes between her supporters and a pro-junta mob
Considerable international pressure has been exerted on the government to free Aung San Suu Kyi.

Three days ago, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan urged the junta to release her and other detained leaders of the NLD.

The UN says the constitutional convention will only be credible if it is inclusive.

The government announced last month it was to hold the national convention in the capital Rangoon, to draw up a new constitution for the country, which is also known as Myanmar.

Plans for a constitutional convention were first unveiled last August as part of a programme for what the government said would be democratic change in the country.

The NLD won 1990 elections by a landslide but the military junta refused to give up power.


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