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  Kaladan News
Dated: March 6, 2004

Is Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Ready to Work For Democracy With General Khin Nyunt?

Chittagong, March 6: Burmese Prime Minister Khin Nyunt is committed to taking his country to democracy and opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is ready to work with him on it, UN special envoy Razali Ismail said on 4th March 2004, according to AFP, Reutera, Kuala Lumpur.

“I think the prime minister is truly committed to take this process to a transition to democracy,” Razali told Reuters on his return to Kuala Lumpur after a four-day visit to Rangoon.

The veteran Malaysian diplomat said Daw Aung San Suu Kyi—whom he met twice in the villa to which she is confined – was amenable to making the process work.

“There is no sense of recrimination. She is not asking for a pound of flesh,” he said.

UN envoy Razali Ismail on 4th March wrapped up his 12th visit to Burma after a flurry of meetings with the junta and democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi in his push for democracy in the military-run state.

Razali spent three days shuttling between separate talks with Aung San Suu Kyi, who remains under house arrest, Prime Minister General Khin Nyunt and others in a bid to move forward the “roadmap” to democracy Rangoon announced last August.

“His mission went well” a source close to the envoy’s visit told AFP after Razali’s departure from Rangoon to the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.

“It is too early to say if there has been progress, maybe we will see some results in the next few weeks,” the source said, adding that Aung San Suu Kyi, whom Rezali met twice in two days, remained in high sprits.

“As usual, she was very pugnacious and determined,” the source said of the Nobel peace laureate, enduring her third period of house arrest since 1988.

Razali was kept in a tight security cocoon during his trip, which authorities did not publicize, and reporters could not approach him as he left his Rangoon hotel for the airport.

Rangoon’s democracy “roadmap” has been met with skepticism from western governments, which tightened sanctions against Burma after last May’s brutal crackdown on Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD).The NLD won a landslide 1990 election victory but was never allowed to rule.

But Rezali appears to have thrown his support wholeheartedly behind the process and held a series of meetings with government officials, foreign diplomats and ethnic leaders.

According to SNLD leader, Khun Tun Oo, New Prime Minister’s overtures to engage should be met with constructive response, even if not sincerely at least with careful optimism.

On March 01,2004, the UN special envoy Mr. Rezali made unannounced visit to Burma and separately met General Khin Nyunt and opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi during his four- day visit.

Prime Minister Khin Nyunt claimed almost all cease-fire groups are going to be participated in the next National Convention. But, previous Convention had been hindered after the NLD had walked out of the Convention in 1996, as the convention procedures were unlawful ways.

“It is too early to say if there has been progress, as the SPDC is not sincere as previous records, it still fighting with minorities, while it is talking with minorities to pursue to attend the National Convention. In other hand, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi including other NLD members is still in prison and they are being arrested across the country, said Mr. AFK Jilani, the author of Human Rights Violations in Arakan and Organizing Secretary of NLD for Arakan State.