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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 December 2005, 16:24 GMT
Malaysia 'hopeful' on Burma move
By Jonathan Kent
BBC News, Kuala Lumpur

Aung San Suu Kyi
Aung San Suu Kyi's detention was extended recently
Malaysia's prime minister says he hopes Burma's neighbours will be able to send a delegation to meet the country's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Abdullah Badawi said Burma's failure to reform was starting to cause problems for the whole region.

He was speaking before Asia's leaders arrive in Kuala Lumpur for the annual meeting of their Asean grouping.

Aung San Suu Kyi may still be under house arrest in Rangoon, but her presence is being felt here.

Asean's leaders are clearly getting fed up with Burma's problems distracting from their attempts to discuss other issues, such as trade.

Pressure growing

Malaysia's Prime Minister, Abdullah Badawi, now says the generals have agreed to receive an Asean delegation led by his Foreign Minister, Syed Hamid Albar.

Mr Abdullah says it is possible that it will meet the Burmese pro-democracy leader.

Syed Hamid, who is also the current Asean chairman, says Burma's neighbours can only continue to defend the regime internationally if they meet with Aung San Suu Kyi and can report back that there is progress towards reform.

The Malaysians had hoped to leave the issue off this summit's agenda, but the last few days have seen pressure on Burma's generals escalate rapidly.

Late last month they announced that they had extended Aung San Suu Kyi's detention, but since then moves to have Burma discussed by the United Nations Security Council and strong criticism from South-East Asian law-makers, seem to have made the issue impossible to ignore.

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