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Myanmar extends Suu Kyi's detention

Just hours after United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan asked them to "do the right thing" and release Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's military rulers have extended the detention of one of the world's best known pro-democracy advocates.

Aung San Suu Kyi has had her house arrest extended (AP file photo)

It is unclear whether Suu Kyi will remain under house arrest for another six months, or a year, but what is clear is that the military made its move in defiance of Annan's plea for her release.

Annan issued a personal appeal on Friday to the head of Myanmar's military, asking him to release Suu Kyi.

Myanmar used to be known as Burma.

Annan, speaking to reporters in Thailand, said that he was relying on the general to "do the right thing."

"Aung San Suu Kyi has spent 10 of the past 16 years in detention or under house arrest. The government will be reviewing her status within 24 hours. I take this opportunity to appeal to Gen. Than Shwe and the government to release her," said Annan.

"I believe her release will facilitate national dialogue and allow the National League for Democracy to participate in that dialogue. I think it would be in the interests of Myanmar, the region and the world at large.

"It would also allow the government and the people, not only to build the nation together, but to focus on the essential issue of economic and social development. For the democratic process and the reconciliation process to be truly successful, it has to be inclusive, and she has a role to play. And I'm relying on you, Gen. Than Shwe, to do the right thing."

The current term of her military-imposed house arrest was due to expire on May 27, but that has now been extended.

The NLD party won a landslide victory in elections in 1990, but has never been permitted to govern.

In 1991, Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Earlier this week UN undersecretary-general Ibrahim Gambari briefed the Security Council on his recent visit to Myanmar. During that trip Gambari met with Gen. Than.

He also had an hour-long meeting with Suu Kyi, her first meeting with a foreigner since 2004.

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