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11 October2009
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Myanmar junta chief confirms 2010 election

Myanmar state media reported Saturday that Burma's military leader has confirmed a general election is scheduled for 2010, reported the US government broadcaster Voice of America.

The official New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported that in a speech to military retirees Friday, Senior General Than Shwe said that in changing to a parliamentary system, various parties and different beliefs would emerge.

He warned that those parties are to avoid anything that leads to harming state interests.

The speech came on the same day detained Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was allowed to have a rare meeting with Western diplomats in Rangoon.

Nyan Win, a lawyer for Aung San Suu Kyi, said the hour-long discussions with US, Australian and British diplomats focused on sanctions against Burma's military government.

The United States and the European Union imposed the sanctions after the military ignored the results of a 1990 election won by Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy.

The opposition leader has in the past supported sanctions as a means to pressure the military, but last month said she was prepared to work with the government to get them lifted.

Aung San Suu Kyi has been under some form of detention for 14 of the last 20 years. She was sentenced in August to an extra 18 months of house arrest for allowing an uninvited American man to stay at her home without official permission.

The international community has denounced Aung San Suu Kyi's conviction, accusing the military of using it as an excuse to prevent her from participating in next year's elections.


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