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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 March 2006, 08:40 GMT
Malaysian FM to check on Burma
Aung San Suu Kyi
It is not clear whether Mr Syed Hamid will meet Aung San Suu Kyi
Malaysia's Foreign Minister, Syed Hamid Albar, was expected to arrive in Burma on Thursday on a much-anticipated visit to check progress on political reform.

Mr Syed Hamid will report back to the regional diplomatic group Asean, which he currently chairs.

Burma's government agreed to the visit at a summit in December but later postponed it, saying it was too busy.

It says it is implementing a plan for political reform, but has been widely criticised for a lack of progress.

Mr Syed Hamid was planning to stay in the Burmese capital Rangoon from Thursday to Saturday, and will meet leaders of the ruling military junta, as well as "various representatives in the reconciliation and democratisation process", a Malaysian government statement said.

It did not specify whether he would meet the pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who remains under house arrest in Rangoon.

Mr Syed Hamid's aim is to "obtain first hand information on the progress of the implementation of the reconciliation [with the opposition] and democratisation process in Myanmar [Burma]," the statement added.

He will then brief Asean [Association of South East Asian Nations] foreign ministers during their 17-18 April summit in Bali, Indonesia.

Malaysia has said a failure to reform by Burma, which is a member of Asean, is starting to cause problems for the whole region.

Mr Syed Hamid says Burma's neighbours can only continue to defend the regime internationally if they can report back that there is progress towards reform.

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