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Last Updated: Friday, 12 October 2007, 14:39 GMT 15:39 UK
Burma prime minister Soe Win dies
Gen Soe Win
Soe Win had been treated for his illness in Singapore
Burmese Prime Minister Soe Win has died in a military hospital after a long illness, state media said.

Relatives said Gen Soe Win, 59, had been battling acute leukaemia. Since May his duties have been performed by an acting prime minister, Thein Sein.

Soe Win's death comes after Burma's military launched a deadly crackdown on anti-government protesters led by the country's revered Buddhist monks.

Analysts say his death is unlikely to have much impact on the aftermath.

Most key decisions in Burma need the approval of the junta's top leaders Than Shwe and Maung Aye.

'Trusted associate'

Soe Win died in Burma's largest city, Rangoon, on Friday, state radio said.

Reports say he had returned to the country earlier this month, following months of treatment in Singapore. There had been rumours about his death since early last week.

Soe Win was one of Than Shwe's most trusted associates and will mainly be remembered for his role in stifling opposition to military rule, says BBC East Asia analyst Steve Jackson.

Diplomats and human rights groups say he masterminded a bloody attack on the convoy of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi that led to her return to house arrest in 2003.

He was an air force chief and commander for Burma's north-western military region.

He succeeded Khin Nyunt, who was ousted as prime minister in 2004.

Soe Win is survived by his wife, Than Than Nwe. His twin brother died last month, state media said.

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