Myanmar democracy leader Suu Kyi meets official

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YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Detained Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday held her first meeting this year with the Cabinet official responsible for contact with her, as her party makes preparations for possible participation in elections.

Officials said Suu Kyi was taken from her home to meet for about 20 minutes with Relations Minister Aung Kyi. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to release information, did not know the contents of their talk.

Myanmar’s military government has set elections, the first since 1990, for an unspecified date this year. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party, which has not yet declared whether it will take part, this week expanded its central executive committee by nine members to 20.

Last year, party colleagues agreed to Suu Kyi’s suggestion that the committee be reorganized. Most of its members are elderly.

Suu Kyi’s last meeting with Aung Kyi was on Dec. 9, when he informed her that her request to be allowed to meet with the party elders was granted. She met them on Dec. 16.

Suu Kyi has also requested a meeting with junta chief Senior Gen. Than Shwe to explain how she would cooperate in tasks “beneficial to the country,” but is not yet known to have received any response.

The constitution adopted in 2008 that set up this year’s polls was considered undemocratic by her party. It has clauses that would ensure that the military remains the controlling power in government, and would bar Suu Kyi from holding office.

Politics in Myanmar have been deadlocked since Suu Kyi’s party overwhelmingly won the 1990 elections. The military refused to allow it to take power and clamped down on the pro-democracy movement, causing the United States and another Western nations to impose economic and political sanctions in an attempt to isolate the junta.

However, the Obama administration has said the sanctions failed to foster reforms and is seeking to engage the junta through high-level talks.