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UN Envoy Returns to Burma For Talks With Aung San Suu Kyi - 2002-08-01

A U.N. envoy, responsible for progress in dialogue between Burma's military government and the democratic opposition, is due to return to Rangoon, Friday. Razali Ismail is on a mission to spur Burma's ruling generals into more substantive talks with opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

U.N. special envoy Razali Ismail's eighth visit to Burma comes amid recent calls by the opposition National League for Democracy for quicker movement toward political reform.

Mr. Razali's main aim will be to press for substantial talks, in part because the U.N. envoy's tenure is soon to finish. But Burma's foreign minister, Win Aung, speaking to journalists in Brunei during the regional security forum said the military government would not be pushed on democratic reforms and will proceed at what he called a comfortable pace.

Mr. Razali is credited with bringing the government and Aung San Suu Kyi together for a series of talks starting in October 2000. Since then, the government has eased up on the National League for Democracy, releasing some 300 members from prison or house arrest, including Aung San Suu Kyi.

Since her release in May, Aung San Suu Kyi has been trying to rebuild the NLD and reorganize party offices and supporters outside the capital, Rangoon.

But there has been no progress on a timetable or blueprint for Burma's transition from military rule. That has been the main issue since 1990 when the NLD won elections but was barred from taking power.