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By Aung Hla Tun YANGON (Reuters) - Myanmar's ruling junta allowed detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi to meet with Western diplomats on Friday, a week after she asked for talks about sanctions on the isolated country. A Home Ministry source said the Nobel Peace Prize winner was driven to a state guesthouse, where she met for an hour with the deputy heads of the U.S. and Australian missions and the ambassador of Britain, which represented the European Union. It was the third time in six days Myanmar's military rulers allowed Suu Kyi, 64, to attend meetings outside her lakeside home, where she is held under house arrest. The National League for Democracy (NLD) party leader has been detained for 14 of the last 20 years and had her house arrest extended by 18 months in August for letting an American intruder stay at her home for two days. She met with Labour Minister Aung Kyi, the designated junta go-between, on Saturday and Wednesday. It was not known what was discussed in either of the meetings and officials would not be drawn on the purpose of Friday's talks with the diplomats. "We look forward to hearing directly from Aung San Suu Kyi, her views regarding the situation in Burma," said a U.S. diplomat, using the country's former name. FAILED SANCTIONS Analysts and Suu Kyi's party, which she has not been in contact with, said they believe the meeting was related to her recent offer to work with the reclusive regime to lobby for the lifting of sanctions, which critics say have failed. Suu Kyi, daughter of Myanmar independence hero General Aung San, has voiced support for a recent change in approach by the United States, which has opted for engagement with Myanmar under the Obama administration, but with its embargos still in place. U.S. sanctions were imposed in 1988, when the army that has ruled Myanmar since a 1962 coup violently crushed pro-democracy demonstrations, killing an estimated 3,000 people. The EU has had sanctions in place since 1996. They were further tightened after a harsh crackdown on monk-led protests in 2007. Australia has visa restrictions on the regime and a ban on defence exports. Critics say the extension of Suu Kyi's house arrest was intended to minimise her influence on next year's elections, the first since 1990 when her NLD party won but was never allowed to rule. (Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by Jason Szep and Bill Tarrant)

Reuters