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Burma's Suu Kyi agrees to ASEAN rol

   Burma's Suu Kyi agrees to ASEAN role in arranging dialogue 

   MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ Burmese opposition leader Aung San
Suu Kyi is agreeable to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
arranging a dialogue between her and Burma's military government, a
Filipino senator said Tuesday.
   Suu Kyi disclosed her position Oct. 17 in a meeting with
Philippine Foreign Secretary Domingo Siazon at the Rangoon
residence of Manila's ambassador to Burma, said Sen. Alberto
Romulo, who was at the meeting.
   Siazon and Romulo were the highest-ranking government officials
from any of Burma's Southeast Asian neighbors to meet the 1991
Nobel Peace Prize winner.
   ``Our objective was to encourage continued dialogue between the
Burmese government and her group,'' Romulo told The Associated
Press. ``She had no objection.''
   Romulo said Suu Kyi was agreeable to ASEAN arranging such a
meeting but insisted that her group be given a free hand in
choosing its representatives for talks with the government.
   He said ASEAN had no specific plan for arranging such a
dialogue, but ASEAN officials could meet with Suu Kyi to work on
   Siazon and Romulo went to Rangoon with President Fidel Ramos,
who visited the country for three days last month. Ramos was the
first ASEAN head of state to visit Burma since it was admitted as
an ASEAN member in July despite Western objections over its human
rights record.
   Romulo said Ramos was aware of the meeting, which took place
after the Philippine leader had left for Laos.
   Ramos' aides had sought permission from Burma's military
government for him to see Suu Kyi during his visit, but they
dropped the matter when the Burmese did not respond.
   Philippine Ambassador to Burma Sonia Brady and the vice chairman
of the National League for Democracy, which Suu Kyi heads, also
were at the two-hour lunch meeting, Romulo said.
   Access to Suu Kyi is strictly controlled by Burma's military
government, which kept her under house arrest from 1989 to 1995 for
her campaign to bring democracy to the country.
   ASEAN officials have urged Burmese military leaders in the past
to open a dialogue with Suu Kyi.
   The generals have refused, but did allow Suu Kyi to hold a
congress of her political party for the first time in seven years
in September.
   Suu Kyi has frequently criticized ASEAN's policy of constructive
engagement, which advocates using increased business and diplomatic
ties to persuade the Burmese military to reform.
   Suu Kyi said the policy was flawed because ASEAN was engaging
only one side _ the military. Suu Kyi's party won a 1990 election
by a landslide, but the military refused to honor the results.
   ASEAN consists of Brunei, Burma, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the
Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
251158 nov 97