Online news: Breakingnews
Burma’s detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi met the ruling junta’s liaison officer Friday, officials and her party said, in the latest sign of dialogue between the two sides.
A Burma official who spoke on condition of anonymity said labour minister Aung Kyi, the government’s liaison with Suu Kyi, met her for 30 minutes at a state-run guesthouse in Yangon.
He gave no details of their discussions.
It is the fourth meeting between the pair since the beginning of October and comes after the country’s supreme court agreed last month to hear a final appeal against her house arrest.
“We do not know details about the meeting but we expect future talks. There are several things to discuss,” said Khin Maung Swe, a spokesman for Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD).
He said the NLD hoped the junta would allow members of the party’s central executive committee to meet Suu Kyi at a later date. Nobel laureate Suu Kyi, 64, was ordered to spend another 18 months in detention in August after being convicted over an incident in which an American man swam to her house. A lower court rejected an initial appeal in October.
Burma’s military ruler
s have kept Suu Kyi in detention for 14 of the last 20 years, having refused to recognise her political party’s landslide victory in the country’s last democratic elections in 1990.
The extension of her house arrest after a trial at Yangon’s notorious Insein Prison sparked international outrage as it effectively keeps her off the stage at elections promised by the regime some time in 2010.
Friday’s meeting was a further sign of shifting relations between Suu Kyi and the junta since she wrote in September to the military head, Senior General Than Shwe, offering to cooperate in getting Western sanctions lifted.
She wrote a second time in November, requesting a meeting with Than Shwe.
State media reported in December that she had been “insincere” and “dishonest” in sending the letters, accusing her of leaking them to foreign media and of a “highly questionable” change of tack after years of favouring sanctions.
However, recent developments have suggested a slight relaxing of tensions between the two sides.
Suu Kyi met Aung Kyi twice in five days in October, the first such talks since January 2008, and met Western diplomats in Yangon.
In November the regime allowed her to make a rare appearance in front of the media after she held talks with US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell, the highest-level official from Washington to visit Burma for 14 years.
In recent months the United States, followed by the European Union, has shifted towards a policy of greater engagement with the Burma regime as economic sanctions have failed to bear fruit.
Burma’s foreign minister has told Southeast Asian counterparts that this year’s elections would be fair, the ASEAN secretary general said Thursday.
Surin Pitsuwan said the military-ruled state’s Foreign Minister Nyan Win made the comments at a dinner Wednesday in Vietnam with his counterparts from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
“That was done last night and it was assured that it will be this year, and it will be free, fair and credible,” Surin told reporters on the sidelines of an ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting.
“No date has been set, but everything is moving on course. That’s what we were told.”
New Delhi (Mizzima) – Detained Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday, for the first time in 2010, met with government liaison minister Aung Kyi at her house, according to party leaders.
Ohn Kyaing, a member of the National League for Democracy’s Central Executive Committee (CEC), said, “I heard that Daw Suu met with U Aung Kyi but I do not have any detailed information.”
Similarly, Khin Maung Swe, a NLD spokesperson, told Mizzima on Friday that he had also heard of the meeting through sources but did not have detailed information of what the two discussed.
“We heard that the meeting was for about 25 minutes at her home,” Khin Maung Swe added.
Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi last met with Aung Kyi in December.
Than Shwe appointed the liaison minister as an interlocutor between himself and Aung San Suu Kyi in 2007, following the visit of then United Nations Special Envoy to Burma, Ibrahim Gambari, on the heels of September’s Saffron Revolution.
Friday’s meeting came a day after the NLD announced its decision to expand its CEC from 11 members to 20, a move seen by some observers as a kind of preparation for a political tug-of-war leading up to and following this year’s scheduled general election.
“If the meeting today is correct, I think it is a good step for the New Year. We are hoping that it will be a positive meeting,” Ohn Kyaing iterated, adding that they welcome such meetings and hope the process will continue.
Burma’s present military rulers, in power for the past two decades, have announced they are set to hold a general election in 2010, but have yet to specify any dates.
The NLD, meanwhile, say they will participate in the election only if the junta agrees to first amend the 2008 constitution, release all political prisoners and permit international monitoring of the polls.