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Suu Kyi meets with junta liaison

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Myanmar's media coverage of Suu Kyi unusual for not being unflattering
  • Suu Kyi allowed to leave home where she has been under house arrest
  • She met the country's newly appointed liaison officer, state-run TV reported
  • U.N. envoy Ibrahim Gambari met with her earlier this month
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(CNN) -- Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi -- under house arrest in Yangon for the past three years -- met with the country's newly-appointed liaison officer Thursday, Myanmar's state-run television reported.

Suu Kyi has been under house arrest at the property for the last three years.

Both television and the state-run newspaper "The New Light of Myanmar" ran images of the meeting between Suu Kyi and Deputy Minister of Labor Aung Kyi.

Aung Kyi was appointed as the ruling junta's liaison officer with the detained Nobel laureate amid international pressure following September's bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations.

The newspaper's front-page photograph, with simple captioning about the meeting, is unusual. The newspaper has in the past run unflattering cartoons of Suu Kyi and discussed her in a derogatory manner.

Aung Kyi, viewed as a moderate, is the first officially designated liaison appointed by the junta to meet with the opposition leader.

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Suu Kyi's meeting came weeks ahead of a second visit to Myanmar by U.N. envoy Ibrahim Gambari to help resolve the disputes arising from last month's bloody clashes between pro-democracy demonstrators and government security forces. Video Watch CNN's Dan Rivers report on the latest developments in Myanmar »

Gambari is expected to arrive in Myanmar the first week of November after the leadership of Myanmar, also called Burma, agreed to move up the date of his arrival, according to a U.N. press release.

He is currently in Beijing as part of a tour of regional capitals "to garner support" for his visit, the United Nations said.

Last month, Gambari met with Myanmar's military junta leadership, as well as Suu Kyi, who has been detained off and on since 1989 after her National League for Democracy won the country's first free multiparty elections but the military junta refused to hand over power.

Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for 12 of the last 18 years -- from 1989 to 1995, from 2000 to 2002, and from May 2003 to now.

Myanmar's military junta admitted last week to detaining more than 2,900 people during last month's crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators, with hundreds of them still in custody.

Video smuggled out of the secretive country shows unarmed protesters being beaten by the military regime's security forces, and one man -- believed to be a Japanese journalist -- was shot and killed at close range.

U.N. envoy Paulo Sergio Pinheiro also has been cleared to visit Myanmar for a fact-finding mission into reports of human rights violations during the September crackdown.

"I have been able to verify, through different independent and reliable sources, allegations of the use of excessive force by the security forces, including live ammunitions, rubber bullets, tear gas, bamboo and wood sticks, rubber batons and catapults (slingshots)," he said.

"This largely explains the killings and the severe injuries reported."


Pinheiro said as many as 110 people were believed to have been killed during the demonstrations -- including 40 Buddhist monks -- and 200 others beaten.

He plans to arrive in Myanmar sometime before November 17, the date of the summit meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

Copyright 2007 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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