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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 October 2007, 22:01 GMT 23:01 UK
Burma sets conditions for Suu Kyi
Burma's military leader General Than Shwe
The offer was made during talks with the UN's envoy
Burma's military leader, Gen Than Shwe, has agreed in principle to meet the detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, state media has reported.

In return she must drop her support for international sanctions and abandon her confrontational attitude, it said.

It is the first time during his 15-year rule that Gen Shwe has indicated he may be ready for dialogue with Suu Kyi.

State media also say 2,093 people were arrested during the recent crackdown on anti-government protests.

It said 692 people had already been released after signing a declaration that they would not take part in any future rallies.

"Among the arrested there were protesters, their supporters, and some bystanders. Although they were bystanders, they broke the law" that bans gatherings of more than five people, state television said.

However, BBC sources in Burma say as many as 10,000 people - many of them monks who led the demos - have been rounded up for interrogation in recent days.

Security forces are said to be using video recordings of the demonstrations to compile lists of activists for arrest.

Slim hope

In Washington, the state department confirmed that its most senior envoy in Burma, Shari Villarosa, has been invited to meet the military government on Friday.

Monks demonstrating in Rangoon, 25/10
Buddhist monks spearheaded the pro-democracy protests

The announcement came hours before the UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari was to brief UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon following his recent trip to Burma.

He is to brief the UN Security Council later on Friday.

Gen Shwe apparently made the offer to meet Ms Suu Kyi during talks with Mr Gambari on Tuesday.

Mr Gambari was allowed to meet her twice, both before and after seeing the generals, which, correspondents say, suggests he may have been carrying messages between the two sides.

Previous attempts to build dialogue between the military and Aung San Suu Kyi - who is still the pre-eminent symbol of Burma's democratic movement - have come to nothing.

Gen Shwe has been steadfast in his hostility to Aung San Suu Kyi - it is said he will not even tolerate her name being mentioned in his presence, says BBC regional correspondent Chris Hogg.

Scare tactics

Dozens are feared to have died during the suppression of the protests, which were sparked after the government raised fuel prices.

Residents of the main city, Rangoon, say the streets are now quiet during daylight hours, with the police and army keeping a low profile.

Undated handout of killed Japanese reporter Kenji Nagai

But during the overnight curfew, they say raids by the security forces continue.

Earlier on Thursday, the body of Japanese reporter Kenji Nagai killed during the demonstrations in Rangoon arrived home.

Japanese officials say he was shot at close range, contradicting earlier claims by the Burmese authorities that he was hit accidentally by a stray bullet.

The Burmese regime - which has held power since 1962 - has been condemned for its actions across the world.

Multi-party elections were held in 1990 and were won comprehensively by Ms Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party.

But the ruling junta - known for its corruption and mismanagement - dismissed the results and continued to exercise a stranglehold on power.


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