Myanmar junta sets conditions for Suu Kyi talks

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YANGON, Oct 4 (Reuters) Myanmar junta chief Than Shwe told a United Nations envoy he would talk to detained democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi if she abandoned her ''obstructive measures'' and support for sanctions, state television said today.

It said Than Shwe told UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari this week Suu Kyi, who has been in detention for 12 of the last 18 years, was also ''confrontational'' and for ''utter devastation'' without explaining what the last accusation meant.

Than Shwe told Gambari, dispatched to Myanmar to persuade the generals to end their ruthless crackdown on protests and talk to Suu Kyi, that if she ''announces publicly she has given up these four things, he would told direct talks'' with her, it said.

Suu Kyi has supported sanctions against Myanmar although many experts say they hurt the impoverished population far more than the generals.

The evening news broadcast also said that since the crackdown on peaceful protests led by monks began last week, 2,093 people had been arrested and 692 released after interrogators deemed them innocent.

Witnesses say round ups of suspects continue in the middle of the night and at least some of them were held at a former government technical institute in northern Yangon's Insein district.

A relative of three women released said detainees were being divided into four categories: passers-by, those who watched, those who clapped and those who joined in.

Win Min, who fled to Thailand when the army crushed a student-led uprising in 1988 at the cost of an estimated 3,000 lives, said those found guilty of applauding the protesters, who filled five city blocks, would get minimum jail terms.

That would be two to five years, he said. Protest leaders could expect up to 20 years behind bars, he added.

REUTERS JK VC2000

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