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UN envoy seeks Suu Kyi release

Yangon, June 6 (Reuters): A UN special envoy met Myanmar officials today to press for the release of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, detained after a deadly clash that Washington said may have been instigated by the military regime.

Razali Ismail, UN secretary-general Kofi Annan’s envoy to Myanmar met Myanmar foreign minister Win Aung and said he would meet the military intelligence chief and number three in the junta, Khin Nyunt, tomorrow morning. On the chances of meeting Suu Kyi, Razali said today: “It is too early to say.”

The ruling generals have held the Nobel peace laureate at undisclosed locations since violence erupted between her supporters and those favouring the junta last Friday as she toured a provincial town in the north.

Razali said he also wanted to see senior leaders of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party, who have been confined to their houses for the past week. The US said yesterday it suspected Suu Kyi and her convoy were ambushed by “government-affiliated thugs”.

The military says four people died and 50 were injured in the clashes but dissidents in exile suspect as many as 75 of Suu Kyi’s supporters were killed.

Myanmar has denied access to Suu Kyi. Offices of her National League for Democracy have been shut and 19 of its leaders are also in custody.

Diplomats and dissidents fear Suu Kyi was injured in the May 30 violence but Myanmar officials have denied that.

“I have heard that she’s been injured...but these are all just rumours,” Razali said before leaving Malaysia for Yangon.

“I think the government can be persuaded to allow me to see her. They should really help themselves by allowing me to see her,” the veteran Malaysian diplomat said. “We are making a strong bid to get her released immediately. Virtually all countries are demanding that she be released.” The US and Britain have stepped up diplomatic pressure for Suu Kyi’s release.

US state department spokesman Philip Reeker said in a statement US embassy officials had gone from Yangon to the scene of last week’s clash to investigate.

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