A US senator who secured the release last year of an American jailed for swimming to the home of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi will return to Myanmar for talks with the junta, his office said Wednesday.
The visit "comes at a time of great unrest in the region following the North Korean torpedo attack on a South Korean vessel, violent protests in Thailand and provocations from the Burmese regime," his office said in a statement.
Webb became the first US official to meet the Myanmar junta's reclusive leader Than Shwe last August, when he won the release of American John Yettaw, an eccentric Vietnam War veteran who was sentenced to seven years' hard labour.
Yettaw, who suffers from epilepsy and diabetes, said he had intruded on Suu Kyi's house on a "mission from God" to warn about a vision that she would be assassinated, but his actions landed her with another 18 months' house arrest.
Webb met Suu Kyi during his last trip and urged the country's military rulers to free the detained opposition leader.
His office did not say whether the Virginia senator -- who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs -- had requested another meeting with Suu Kyi during his upcoming trip.
Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) was forcibly dissolved after refusing to meet a May 6 deadline to re-register as a political party -- a move that would have forced it to expel its own leader.
Suu Kyi has been in jail or under house arrest for most of the past 20 years. The NLD won 1990 elections by a landslide but was prevented by the junta from taking power.
Source: AFP American Edition