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US Diplomat in Burma to Meet Political Leaders, Suu Kyi


Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi leaves her National League for Democracy party's headquarters in Rangoon (file photo)

Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi leaves her National League for Democracy party's headquarters in Rangoon (file photo)

A senior U.S. diplomat is in Burma on the first visit by a U.S. official since the country's military rulers held a rare election last month and released opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest.

The U.S. Embassy in Rangoon says Joseph Yun arrived in the city Tuesday for a four-day visit in which he will meet senior Burmese officials, representatives of political parties and ethnic minority groups.

A spokesman for Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party, Nyan Win, says Yun will meet Friday with Suu Kyi. Yun is the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs.

Burma's military released Suu Kyi last month, days after holding the country's first election in 20 years. She had spent 15 of the past 21 years in some form of detention. Critics dismissed the vote as a sham, saying election rules denied opposition groups the ability to compete effectively against military-allied parties.

The U.S. Embassy says Yun will urge Burma's leaders to "improve their human rights record and release political prisoners immediately and unconditionally." It says the U.S. official also will review U.S. humanitarian aid to the Burmese people.

A breakaway faction of Suu Kyi's party told the French news agency, AFP, that Yun held talks Tuesday in Rangoon with representative of 10 parties that won seats in the November 7 election. National Democratic Force leader Khin Maung Swe said Yun asked the parties about the election and the impact of U.S. economic sanctions on Burma.

Since her release, Suu Kyi has said she is satisfied with the U.S. government's policy of engaging with the Burmese junta so long as Washington maintains a realistic attitude.

Earlier Tuesday, she bade farewell to her son Kim Aris, who had been visiting from Britain. It was the first time she had seen her son in 10 years.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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