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    » 08/19/2011, 00.00

    MYANMAR

    Aung San Suu Kyi and Thein Sein meet for the first time in Naypyidaw



    Myanmar’s opposition leader meets the country’s president in the new capital. She is expected to meet other government officials. Critics view the move as an attempt by the “civilian” government to gain legitimacy with the international community. On the internet, Burmese express scepticism, take a wait-and-see attitude.
    Yangon (AsiaNews) – National League for Democracy (NLD) leader Aung San Suu Kyi today met President Thein Sein in Naypyidaw, Myanmar’s new capital. A government source confirmed the first “face-to-face” meeting between the pro-democracy leader and an official of the new government, set up after last November’s elections, described as a “farce” by much of the international community.

    A government official, who spoke on conditional of anonymity, told The Irrawaddy that Ms Suu Kyi met Thein Sein briefly around 1 pm local time. He added that Suu Kyi also toured the town, which she had seen before.

    For some observers, the meeting is an olive branch by the civilian government (albeit mostly military officers who ruled for two decades) to the Nobel Prize laureate and the opposition.

    However, critics are less impressed. For them, the encounter was just another attempt by Myanmar rulers to gain legitimacy for the new government vis-à-vis the United States and the European Union. The latter have maintained economic and trade sanctions on the former Burma.

    The regime’s softer touch is also part of its campaign to take over the rotating presidency of the ten-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2014.

    Thein Sein received the NLD leader at the presidential palace. A prominent leader in the former military junta, he was the nice face of a regime that held Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest for 15 of the past 21 years.

    Commenting on Suu Kyi’s trip to Naypyidaw, her close aide and top NLD leader Win Tin said that she would meet other senior government officials.

    On the internet, Burmese dissidents are expressing scepticism about the government’s intentions.

    Although not a pessimist, one said that any sign of thaw by the regime is usually designed to reduce international pressure.

    For another, the recent move was just propaganda.
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    See also

    31/03/2011 MYANMAR
    The new government, a “puppet” in the hands of the military, says Burmese trade union leader
    U Maung Maung stresses the absence of “new faces” in parliament, where most are military or former military. The new president plays “the role assigned to him,” but will not share power. Trade union leader urges the international community not to recognise the government. For him, the dictatorship is weakening, “a few more shoves in the right places will lead to its collapse.”

    28/08/2012 MYANMAR
    Thein Sein's cabinet shuffle just a "smokescreen"
    The Burmese president removes members of the old guard to promote more reform-minded people. However, Burma expert says the changes have not altered the underlying power structure. "Unsolved problems" persist as the old elites benefit from new opportunities.

    15/11/2007 MYANMAR – UNITED NATIONS
    Pinheiro’s mission under “escort” ends
    After a visit to Insein Prison, UN human rights envoy leaves Myanmar. Some monks report that Pinheiro only visited places picked by the junta. He met neither Aung San Suu Kyi, nor monk-led protest leader U Gambira, who risks the death penalty. China reiterates its opposition to sanctions.

    04/02/2011 MYANMAR
    Thein Sein is Myanmar’s new president
    The Burmese parliament elects the military junta’s outgoing prime minister with 408 votes. Thiha Thura Tin Aung Myint Oo (171 votes) and Sai Mauk Kham (75 votes) will be the new vice-presidents. Despite uncertainties about his role, strongman Than Shwe will continue to wield the real power.

    28/09/2012 MYANMAR - UNITED NATIONS
    United Nations: Thein Sein to build a "harmonious society" with Aung San Suu Kyi
    President acknowledges "crucial" role played by opposition leader, and reiterates the value of "diversity" as part of the country's rich heritage. Stability, the rule of law and economic growth are his main goals. GDP should reach 7.7 per cent by 2015. An independent, multi-faith commission should investigate anti-Rohingya violence.



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