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February 2, 2009

Myanmar democracy leader seen leaving home for UN envoy talks
Myanmar's detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was taken Monday from her home in a convoy for a meeting with visiting UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari, AFP quoted witnesses and officials as saying.

A Myanmar government official told AFP that Aung San Suu Kyi and senior members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party would hold a joint meeting with Gambari, who arrived in Myanmar on Saturday.

People living near Aung San Suu Kyi's sprawling lakeside compound in the former capital Yangon said cars left at about 10:00 am (0330 GMT), heading in the direction of a state-run guest house where Gambari has been holding talks.

The Nobel peace prize winner, who has spent most of the past 19 years under house arrest, refused to meet Gambari on his last visit to the military-ruled nation in August 2008, apparently after he failed to secure any reform.

The Nigerian troubleshooter returned to Myanmar on Saturday to try continue to nudge the entrenched junta towards democracy, but he is not expected to meet with reclusive head of state Senior General Than Shwe.

During his four-day trip the United Nations has said Gambari wants "meaningful discussions with all concerned on all the points raised during his last visit."

He has so far met with officials including Information Minister Kyaw Hsan and Foreign Minister Nyan Win in the commercial hub Yangon.

He also met on Sunday with Aung Kyi, whose appointment to coordinate junta contacts with Aung San Suu Kyi in October 2007 was seen as a major sop to the West after the violent suppression of anti-junta protests a month earlier.

But their last meeting was in January 2008, and Aung San Suu Kyi said soon afterwards that she was "not satisfied" with the way the dialogue was progressing.

Instead, the junta has forged ahead with its own "Roadmap to Democracy" which its says will lead to multi-party elections in 2010 but which dissidents deride as a sham as it does not include Aung San Suu Kyi.

Myanmar has been ruled by the military since 1962. Aung San Suu Kyi led the NLD to election victory in 1990, but the junta ignored the results and has kept her under house arrest for most of the intervening years.

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