US senator to meet with Burmese military junta chief

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Washington, Aug 13 (ANI): U.S. Senator Jim Webb plans to meet with Burma's top official, Senior General Than Shwe, following his arrival Friday in what would be the first-ever meeting between a U.S. official and Burma's junta chief.

According to Fox News, the visit follows Tuesday's conviction of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi along with an American citizen.

"If the Shwe meeting takes place it will be the first time that a senior American official has ever met with Burma's top leader," a statement from Webb's office said.

U.S. Embassy spokesman Richard Mei said Webb, a Virginia Democrat, was to arrive Friday for a three-day visit, and will be flown straight to the new administrative capital of Naypyitaw to meet government leaders.

"It is vitally important that the United States re-engage with Southeast Asia at all levels," Webb said in a statement announcing his arrival in Laos, where he was due to hold a press briefing on Thursday.

The appointments were made through the Burma Embassy in Washington.Mei said Webb will be the first member of Congress to visit Burma in more than 10 years.

Suu Kyi had been under house arrest since 2003, but was taken to Rangoon's Insein Prison in May for trial after American citizen John Yettaw secretly swam to her house and spent two days there.

Both Yettaw and Suu Kyi were found guilty of violating the terms of her earlier detention.

Asked about speculation that Yettaw, who was sentenced to seven years imprisonment, will be handed over to Webb, Mei said that the issue had "not been officially discussed."

Webb is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations and the Committee's East Asia and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee. (ANI)

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