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AP Online

 

September 14, 2000; Thursday 8:34 AM, Eastern Time

 

Myanmar Security Restrictions Lifted

 

BYLINE: AYE AYE WIN

 

DATELINE: YANGON, Myanmar

 

BODY:

Myanmar's military government lifted security restrictions Thursday on

democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and eight other

opposition leaders who had been confined to their homes for the last two

weeks.

 

The opposition leaders ''are no longer required to stay at their respective

residences'' and have been allowed to resume ''their

daily activities as usual,'' a government statement said.

 

Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy said it will test the government's

sincerity on Friday, when the party reopens its

headquarters, which had also been shut by the government as part of the

restrictions since Sept. 1.

 

NLD vice chairman Tin Oo, freed from home by the lifting of restrictions,

was among the first people to visit Suu Kyi at her

lakeside residence.

 

He said party leaders will once again try to travel outside the capital,

Yangon, for party work. The previous attempt by Suu Kyi

and Tin Oo to drive to the town of Kungyangone had led to the security

crackdown.

 

''We will find out if we will be allowed freedom of movement. We will travel

again because we did not reach Kungyangone last

time. So we will try again,'' Tin Oo told The Associated Press.

 

Suu Kyi, Tin Oo and a group of party youth members were blocked by security

forces outside Yangon on Aug. 24 and

ordered to go back. They refused and camped out beside their vehicle for

nine days before police forcibly transported them

back to Yangon. Subsequently, Suu Kyi, Tin Oo and seven other party leaders

were confined to their homes under virtual

house arrest.

 

During their confinement, the leaders were not allowed any visitors and

their phone lines were cut.

 

On Thursday, U.S. charge d'affaires Priscilla Clapp went to the home of Suu

Kyi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for her

pro-democracy work here. Suu Kyi told Clapp that the NLD has been allowed to

resume party work, a U.S. Embassy

spokesman said on condition of anonymity.

 

''They are back in business to the extent they can do business in this

country,'' the spokesman said.

 

Security officers were removed Thursday from outside NLD headquarters, as

well as the houses of Tin Oo and treasurer

Nyunt Wai. Tin Oo's home telephone was also restored.

 

Tin Oo said the government lifted the restrictions ''partly because of

international pressure.''

 

The latest restrictions on Suu Kyi's movements drew vehement international

criticism, mainly by the United States and Britain.

They accused the regime of blatantly violating the Myanmar democracy

leader's political rights. The government justified the

restrictions by saying it was investigating what it says are the party's

links with terrorists.

 

Thursday's government statement expressed its appreciation for the

cooperation of senior NLD members in staying at home as

requested during the investigation. It said the government regrets ''the

inconvenience caused to those involved.''

 

Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her peaceful struggle

for democracy in Myanmar, also known as

Burma, which has been ruled by its military since 1962. She spent six years

under house arrest, from 1989 to 1995.

 

The current crop of generals came to power in 1988 after a bloody crackdown

on a nationwide uprising for civilian rule. The

uprising catapulted Suu Kyi to political prominence. In 1990, the NLD won

national elections but was prevented by the military

regime from taking power.

 

In another development Thursday, NLD chairman Aung Shwe met with the

third-ranking general in the government, Khin

Nyunt, who is the secretary-one of the ruling State Peace and Development

Council, diplomats said on condition of anonymity.

 

 

''We have had a fruitful meeting,'' Khin Nyunt was quoted as saying in the

government statement. No further details were

available of the rare meeting between the NLD and the regime.

 

 

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