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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Myanmar Spooked by 'Coup Plot'

YANGON, Myanmar -- Myanmar said Tuesday it was too busy dealing with an alleged coup plot to meet UN envoy Razali Ismail this week, raising doubts about the future of talks with pro-democracy opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Razali, a Malaysian diplomat, had been due to start his latest visit Tuesday, but was asked at the last minute to postpone the trip.

Razali played a key role in persuading the military government to start talks with Suu Kyi in October 2000, and has made regular visits to the country to evaluate progress and to encourage political change.

Diplomats were initially told the visit had been postponed because Myanmar's deputy foreign minister had suffered a heart attack. But in a statement Tuesday, the government said it had asked for a delay because of the discovery of the coup plot.

"The Myanmar authorities concerned are quite preoccupied with issues that need immediate attention after the recent coup attempt," government spokesman Colonel Hla Min said.

"In this regard, the UN envoy, Mr. Razali Ismail, has been informed and kindly requested to postpone his visit to Myanmar to a date convenient to both sides in the near future."

The government said earlier this month it had uncovered a plot by relatives and cronies of Ne Win, who ruled the country for 26 years until 1988, to seize power. It has arrested a son-in-law and three grandsons of the elderly former dictator.

But many foreign diplomats are skeptical a coup was planned, saying the allegations and arrests may stem from disagreements in the government over how to deal with Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy.

The NLD won elections in 1990 by a landslide, but the military refused to hand over power. Suu Kyi, winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, has been under house arrest for the last 18 months.

Analysts say a faction in the government led by military intelligence head Lieutenant-General Khin Nyunt favors dialogue with the opposition, but supporters of army chief General Maung Aye oppose any concessions to Suu Kyi.