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Burmese Democracy Leader Meets with Party Elders

Burma's military government made a rare concession to detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi Wednesday, allowing her to meet three elderly leaders of her political party.

The Nobel Peace laureate met National League for Democracy Chairman Aung Shwe, Secretary U Lwin, and executive committee member Lun Tin for 45-minutes at state guest house in Rangoon. The men are in their late 80s and early 90s.

U Lwin said Aung San Suu Kyi gave them fruit baskets and asked for permission to reorganize the NLD's Central Executive Committee. He said they agreed to the proposal.

NLD spokesman Nyan Win told VOA Burmese service the reorganization would not replace the senior executive members, but would add younger members to the committee.

The U.S. State Department welcomed Burma's decision to allow the meeting and again urged engagement with Aung San Suu Kyi.

Aung San Suu Kyi requested the meeting in a letter sent to Burma's military leaders last month. It is the first of three requests granted.

She also has asked to have discussions with the NLD's entire 11-member Executive Committee, including the three senior members she met Wednesday. Her third request is to meet directly with military ruler General Than Shwe.

Aung San Suu Kyi has held three meetings with the military liaison minister, Aung Kyi, since October. She also was allowed to meet U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell last month. 

The democracy advocate is under house arrest, spending 14 of the last 20 years under some form of detention. 

Her political party won democratic elections in 1990, but the military refused to recognize the results.  The regime has vowed to hold elections next year, but critics say the constitution ensures the military will remain in power.

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