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Updated: October 9, 2009 10:04 IST

Suu Kyi meets Western diplomats

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Myanmar's detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is seen at the state guesthouse in Yangon, Myanmar. File photo: AP
AP Myanmar's detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is seen at the state guesthouse in Yangon, Myanmar. File photo: AP

Myanmar’s junta leader has allowed detained Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi to meet Western diplomats to discuss sanctions imposed against the military-ruled country, government officials said Friday.

The Nobel Prize winner, who remains under house arrest, was driven to a government guesthouse to meet with diplomats of the United States, Great Britain and Australia, according to the officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.

Ms. Suu Kyi sent a letter to junta leader Senior Gen. Than Shwe on Sept. 26, stating her willingness to cooperate with the military government to have the sanctions lifted and seeking permission to meet with Western diplomats in order to understand positions of governments that imposed the sanctions.

After the letter, Myanmar Relations Minister Aung Kyi met with Ms. Suu Kyi twice within a week. The second meeting took place Wednesday.

Details of these talks have not been disclosed.

The 64-year-old democracy icon had previously welcomed sanctions as a way to pressure the junta to achieve political reconciliation with the pro-democracy movement.

The movement has insisted on concessions from the government if they are to work together, particularly the freeing of political prisoners.

Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for 14 of the last 20 years.

Last week, a court rejected Ms. Suu Kyi’s appeal against the extension of her widely condemned house arrest.

The court ruling against Ms. Suu Kyi upheld her August conviction for breaking the terms of her house arrest by briefly sheltering an uninvited American at her home earlier this year. She was sentenced to an additional 18 months of house arrest, which means she cannot participate in elections scheduled for next year, the first in Myanmar in two decades.

Ms. Suu Kyi’s legal team said they plan to appeal to the Supreme Court within 60 days.

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