Aung San Suu Kyi has proposed to her party’s leaders that she meet with junta leader Snr-Gen Than Shwe for direct talks on how to remove international economic sanctions against Burma, according to sources close to the National League for Democracy (NLD).
On Wednesday, Suu Kyi met with Nyan Win, the NLD spokesperson, and asked him to inform the party’s executive committee of “important” proposals. Nyan Win declined to elaborate on the nature of her proposals.When The Irrawaddy asked Nyan Win on Friday if Suu Kyi had discussed meeting with Than Shwe to talk about economic sanctions, he said: “The sanctions would be the most suitable issue to start any high-level talks.” However, he declined to elaborate, saying, “Wait until Tuesday.”
He said the NLD central executive committee will discuss Suu Kyi’s proposals on Monday and probably issue a statement on Tuesday.
Presumably, if given her party’s consent, Suu Kyi would write a letter to Than Shwe seeking a direct meeting or make a proposal through Aung Kyi, who serves as Than Shwe’s liaison officer to Suu Kyi.
According to sources, Suu Kyi will also ask the regime to allow her to meet with NLD party leaders and to visit the homes of three executive committee members—party chairman Aung Shwe; secretary U Lwin; and Lun Tin, all of whom are in poor health.
In the past, Suu Kyi has angered the junta because of her vocal support for economic sanctions, but in recent months she has indicated that she is now open to cooperating with the regime to work for their removal. Her change of mind comes at a time when the US has initiated a new direct engagement policy with Burma and has held several exploratory discussions with high-level generals.
In August, Suu Kyi sent a letter to Than Shwe, offering to cooperate with the government and requesting to meet with Western diplomats to discuss the extent and impact of the sanctions.
Since then she met twice with liaison Aung Kyi. A short while later, she was allowed to meet with Rangoon-based diplomats from the UK, Australia and the United States in order to gather information about the impact of sanctions.
Expectations that Suu Kyi may soon be released from house arrest or given more discretionary freedom are running high in Rangoon, following a statement by Min Lwin, the director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, given to The Associated Press in Manila on Monday, in which he said, “There is a plan to release her [Suu Kyi] soon.”
Meanwhile, Suu Kyi’s lawyers filed an appeal with the Supreme Court on Friday that challenged the legality of her house arrest.
The United States said on Thursday that if Suu Kyi were not allowed to participate in Burma’s 2010 elections, the international community would not consider the election credible. US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton this week called for Suu Kyi’s unconditional release to ensure the elections would be free and fair.
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