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Burma Says Will Be Cautious With Su

By Deborah Charles 

BANGKOK, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Burma's military government said on Saturday it
was trying to create conditions for the country to move toward democracy,
although it said it planned to be cautious with the country's main opposition

The government will be cautious in dealing with the National League for
Democracy party ``but at the same time encourage process(es) which are
necessary in building any democracy,'' said a statement issued by Burma's
ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) and received in

The statement came one day after NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi lashed out at
the SLORC for preventing a meeting and arresting eight party members. 

Last week military authorities, some equipped with batons and shields, set up
barricades and carted away NLD supporters to prevent Suu Kyi from holding a
party meeting at a township outside of Rangoon. The supporters who were taken
away, most of them young people, were released several miles away. 

The SLORC said it had warned Suu Kyi and the NLD not to try to hold the
meeting -- which was to have been Suu Kyi's second political gathering
outside the capital since she was released from six years of house arrest in
July 1995. 

The SLORC said the gathering had not been authorised and was therefore

The SLORC said it detained four people connected with the meeting for
questioning. It did not say if they had yet been released. 

But the NLD said eight senior party members -- including the brother of
powerful SLORC Secretary One, Lieutenant-General Khin Nyunt -- were arrested
after the foiled gathering which was meant to organise the party youth wing
in the township. 

Two of the eight, including Khin Nyunt's brother-in-law, Dr Than Nyein, were
members of parliament elected in a 1990 poll that was never recognised by the

Amnesty International on Saturday condemned the arrests and called for urgent
action on behalf of the eight detainees. 

``Eight people, arrested on the night of 28/29 October 1997, are feared to be
at risk of torture or ill-treatment, common during interrogation in Myanmar
(Burma),'' said a statement issued by the London-based human rights group. 

Suu Kyi has said there are about 1,000 NLD members or supporters in prison. 

Burma has been widely accused of human rights abuses, and several human
rights organisations have documented cases of torture or poor treatment
during imprisonment. Several prominent NLD members have died in detention
over the past few years. 

The NLD on Friday issued a seven-page statement condemning the recent SLORC
actions, saying it was not a way to solve the country's problems. 

``The NLD strongly condemns these actions of the authorities,'' it said.
``The NLD earnestly demands (the SLORC) grant the legally-founded NLD the
right to carry out organisational activities legally; to stop unlawful
arrests and to unconditionally release the detained NLD members.'' 

``The NLD openly declares that the political, economic and social problems
being faced in the country will be solved by 'meaningful genuine dialogue'
not by barring, restricting and arresting members of the NLD which is a
legally founded political party,'' the statement said. 

Suu Kyi has repeatedly called for dialogue with the SLORC. Top military
leaders met some NLD officials earlier this year but would not include Suu
Kyi. The NLD says there is no true dialogue between the two sides unless Suu
Kyi is included. 

Suu Kyi's party was allowed to hold a traditional religious ceremony to offer
robes to Buddhist monks early on Saturday. About 200 NLD members and top
officials, including Nobel laureate Suu Kyi, attended the ceremony a few
kilometres from her home. 

02:13 11-01-97