Page last updated at 07:46 GMT, Monday, 16 November 2009

Burma's Suu Kyi calls for talks

By Rachel Harvey
BBC South East Asia correspondent

Aung San Suu Kyi, right, walks with US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell after their meeting at the Inya Lake Hotel, 4 Nov
Aung San Suu Kyi was allowed to meet senior US envoy Kurt Campell

Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has reportedly sent a letter to the head of the country's military government, calling for direct talks.

Ms Suu Kyi has not met Senior General Than Shwe since 2002.

The move comes after a recent visit by two senior US diplomats - part of Washington's new policy of pragmatic engagement with Burma.

On Sunday President Barack Obama used a meeting with Burma and its neighbours to call for Ms Suu Kyi's release.

Recently her period of house arrest was extended again - a move which will prevent her from playing any part in elections due next year.

New US policy

In the letter, Ms Suu Kyi thanks the military leadership for allowing the recent visit of a high-level American delegation, and welcomes opportunities to discuss sanctions imposed on Burma.

Ms Suu Kyi says she wishes to co-operate with the military government on issues which, as she puts it, will benefit the nation.

The letter was apparently sent last Wednesday, but details are only now becoming public.

The news comes a day after President Obama held a summit in Singapore with leaders of the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean), including Burma.

The US is pursuing a new strategy of trying to engage the Burmese government.

But sanctions will remain in place until or unless Washington considers there has been sustained progress towards democracy in Burma, including the release of all political prisoners.

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