Myanmar opposition says no move yet on talks


YANGON — The party of Myanmar’s detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi said Wednesday it had not yet heard from the junta despite the appointment of a moderate general to hold talks with her.

Under pressure from the United Nations after its deadly crackdown on anti-government protests, the junta appointed Aung Kyi, a general seen as a moderate, to liaise with the Nobel peace prize winner.

But a spokesman for her National League for Democracy (NLD) party said that the general had yet to make any contact.

“The authorities have seen a need to open a process of dialogue by appointing a liaison officer,” spokesman Nyan Win said.

“It is still too early to welcome him, because we do not know what he will do or when the dialogue will start.”

Also Wednesday, an organization run by former political prisoners now living in exile in neighboring Thailand said that an NLD member arrested over last month’s protests had died after being tortured during interrogation.

Win Shwe, 42, was detained on Sept. 26 near Myanmar’s second city of Mandalay, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said.

“He died as a result of torture during interrogation. However, his body was not sent to his family and the interrogators indicated that they had cremated it instead,” the group said in a statement.

The NLD were not immediately available to confirm the death.

Myanmar’s junta cracked down on peaceful protests led by Buddhist monks in Yangon last month, unleashing baton charges, tear gas and live rounds, killing at least 13 people and sparking an international outcry.

In an apparent attempt to forestall any punitive U.N. action, the junta has made a series of conciliatory moves.

The military last week said that junta leader Than Shwe was willing to meet Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for most of the past 18 years.

But it also said those talks would come with strict conditions attached, including a demand that she drop support for the international community to slap more sanctions on Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.