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Malaysian Foreign Minister Cuts Short Visit to Burma

Malaysian Foreign Minister Hamid Albar is reported to be leaving Burma today (Friday) after cutting short his long-awaited visit to the military-ruled country.

Reports from Burma quote unidentified security sources and Asian diplomats as saying Hamid is returning home today following a meeting with Prime Minister General Soe Win.

It is not clear why Hamid cut short his visit.

Hamid arrived in Burma Thursday, and met with his Burmese counterpart, Foreign Minister Nyan Win, and other senior officials.

The visit was meant to gather information on Burma's progress toward democratic reforms and reconciliation with the opposition.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations appointed Hamid last year as a special envoy to visit Burma.

Officials in Burma agreed to the trip and a January date was set, but then was postponed by Rangoon.

There has been no indication from the Burmese government that Hamid was allowed to meet detained pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi.

Burma is under intense international pressure to institute democratic reforms.