Aung San Suu Kyi
August 19, 2011 by staff
The talks with Mr. Thein Sein last night marked a rare meeting between the Nobel laureate and a former general who kept in detention for most of the last two decades.
The meeting took place at the presidential office in the Burmese capital, Naypyidaw, a government official.
“It is an important step towards national reconciliation. We must all work together,” said Ko KO Hlaing, the chief political adviser to the President.
In March, a new civilian government took power, headed by Mr. Thein Sein, a former general and minister of the gasket, after nearly 50 years of military rule.
Suu Kyi, who is 66, was placed under house arrest shortly after the November election that was won by political powers of the military and is marked by allegations of fraud.
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The National League for Democracy, which won a vote of 1990, but was not allowed to take power by the Board, boycotted the vote due to rules designed to exclude Suu Kyi. He was stripped of its status as a political party as a result.
Recently there have been signs that the new government is softening its stance on its critics, with Ms. Suu Kyi to hold a second round of talks this month with Labour Minister Aung Kyi.
On Sunday, Ms. Suu Kyi travel unhindered on her first trip outside overtly political in her hometown of Yangon since being released, told thousands of supporters.
Authorities warned in June that such a trip could lead to chaos and unrest, but the day trip passed off peacefully and without incident.
The new government has called for peace talks with ethnic rebels and allowing UN envoy Tomas Ojea Quintana to visit Burma next week for the first time in over a year.
The UN envoy has been a strong critic of Burma’s rulers, angering the Board after her last trip to suggest violations of human rights in the country could constitute crimes against humanity, and could justify a UN investigation.
David Mathieson, a researcher based in Thailand to Burma with the clock based on Human Rights, said it was impossible to say whether the recent conciliatory gestures by the government were “total theater” or “a real turning point.”
“Just do not know the inner workings of the new government, but in terms of basic freedoms, and if the human rights situation is improving, definitely not all,” said Mr Mathieson.
The international community has called a series of reforms in Burma, including the release of nearly 2,000 political prisoners.
In a further sign of the new government is trying to improve its image, Burma’s state newspapers this week fell slogans criticizing foreign media like the BBC “emissions murderer” and “sowing hatred”.
Burma’s generals moved her government from the economic hub of Yangon to the remote current location in late 2005, after building the new administrative capital there.
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