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Indonesian Envoy in Burma to Press for Aung San Suu Kyi's Release

Indonesian special envoy Ali Alatas has met with Burma's prime minister as part of regional efforts to press for the release of pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Indonesia's special envoy, former Foreign Minister Ali Alatas, met with Burmese Prime Minister Khin Nyunt for an hour Monday at a Defense Ministry guest house on the outskirts of Rangoon.

No details of the meeting have been disclosed.

Mr. Alatas has been sent by Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri to press Burma's military government to release National League for Democracy (NLD) leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Indonesia currently chairs the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), which wants fellow member, Burma, to free the prominent opposition leader before the group's October summit.

Aung San Suu Kyi has been in government detention since May 30, after a deadly clash between her supporters and pro-government groups.

It is not clear if Mr. Alatas will be able to meet with the detained Nobel laureate during his five-day visit. The opposition leader is still recovering in a private hospital after surgery late last week and her doctor has said she will not be receiving visitors.

Analysts, including Thailand's Chulalongkorn University professor Chaiyachoke Chulasiriwong, are pessimistic Mr. Alatas' visit will achieve much. "I think [the outlook] is rather bleak. I doubt it will bring much success at all," he said. "Of course right now, as pressure has been building up from Western countries as well as ASEAN, I think the [Burmese] government would not like to bow down to all this pressure."

The most recent detention of Aung San Suu Kyi has halted three years of closed-door talks on resolving the 13-year stand-off between Burma's ruling generals and the opposition NLD.

Aung San Suu Kyi and members of the NLD have spent years under house arrest, being harassed and subjected to other restrictions since winning elections in 1990. They have never been allowed to take power.

ASEAN is calling on Burma's government to release Aung San Suu Kyi so that talks on a political transition in Burma can resume.

Prime Minister Khin Nyunt has said the government may convene an assembly to draft a new constitution, leading to possible elections in the future. But he gave no timetable, nor did he say the NLD would be included in such discussions.