Tuesday, February 3

From Bahrain "Gulf Daily News"

Myanmar's detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi yesterday met visiting UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari, outlining conditions for dialogue with the junta as the diplomat struggled to make a breakthrough. Gambari is in Myanmar to try to push all sides in the military-ruled nation toward dialogue on democratic reform, after his last visit in August ended in deadlock with Suu Kyi refusing to meet him.

The junta has also shown little sign of embracing the Nigerian troubleshooter's role, and he is not expected to meet reclusive head of state Senior General Than Shwe during his four-day visit, which began on Saturday.

Yesterday, Suu Kyi was allowed out of the lakeside home where she has been kept prisoner for most of the last 19 years to meet Gambari and five senior members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party.

Suu Kyi expressed frustration over the world body's failure to persuade the junta to give up their monopoly on power, her party said.

She told Gambari that any visit by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon should be conditional on the release of her and all political prisoners, NLD spokesman Nyan Win said, while the party also reiterated its stance.

"Our demands are the release of all political prisoners, a review of the constitution, call the People's parliament and also dialogue," said Nyan Win.

People's parliament refers to the landslide election victory by Suu Kyi and the NLD in 1990 - an outcome that was ignored by the junta, with the military instead cementing its now nearly five-decade grip on power.

Nyan Win said Suu Kyi also raised the plight of more than 270 pro-democracy activists recently jailed for up to 104 years.

"She pointed out that the long prison sentences, such as 65 or 100 years, were handed down with no defence and no lawyers allowed," Nyan Win said.

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