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Talks with Burma's Leaders Going Nowhere, says Aung San Suu Kyi - 2002-12-31

Burma's main opposition leader closed out 2002 by saying talks with the military government appear to have stalled, despite her release from house arrest, earlier this year.

Aung San Suu Kyi said talks with Burma's government have made no progress since May, when she was freed from 19 months of house arrest.

In a news conference in Rangoon Tuesday, the head of the National League for Democracy acknowledged there has been some improvement in conditions for her pro-democracy party. Since her release, she has made several trips around the country to rebuild the party.

In addition, the ruling military council freed hundreds of political prisoners in the past year.

Still, she and other NLD leaders say the government tried to impede her recent trip to the country's northwest. Despite the government's efforts, hundreds of supporters turned out to greet her.

The NLD won a sweeping victory in national elections in 1990. However, the military government never allowed the party to take power, and Aung San Suu Kyi spent several years under house arrest. Thousands of her supporters were imprisoned or forced to flee the country.

Two years ago, the United Nations began mediating reconciliation talks between the government and the opposition, leading to Aung San Suu Kyi's release in May.