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    » 11/16/2009, 00.00

    MYANMAR – UNITED STATES

    Aung San Suu Kyi calls for “direct talks” with Senior General Than Shwe



    Opposition leader sends personal letter to the military dictatorship. The Nobel Prize winner wants to work with the government for the good of the country. Obama meets Burmese Prime Minister Thein Sein and renews his appeal for Suu Kyi’s release.
    Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has sent a personal letter to General Than Shwe, head of Myanmar’s military dictatorship. In it, the Nobel Prize laureate calls for “direct talks” with the government for the good of the nation. Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama yesterday met Burmese Prime Minister Thein Sein on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit, and renewed his appeal for the release of Suu Kyi and all other political prisoners held in Myanmar.

    The letter is dated 11 November but Reuters obtained a copy of the letter today and published it. In it, the 64—year-old Suu Kyi said, “I would like to earnestly request permission to meet you so that we can talk about cooperating with the State Peace and Development Council in working in the interest of the nation.” The State Peace and Development Council or SPDC is the official name of Myanmar’s military junta.

    If such a meeting took place, it would be the first face-to-face encounter between opposition and military leaders since 2003.

    Aung San Suu Kyi has spent 14 of the past 20 years under house arrest, and her sentence has been recently extended for another 18 months in order to exclude her from next year’s elections.

    The military junta never recognised the results of the last elections held in 1990, which Ms Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), had won in landslide victory with more than 70 per cent of the vote.

    In her letter, the opposition leader thanked the regime for allowing her to meet on 4 November with US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell.

    She also asked for permission to visit three senior NLD leaders who are also under house arrest and approval to hold a plenary meeting with leaders of her party in her home before meeting with Than Shwe.

    Yesterday US President Barack Obama called for Aung San Suu Kyi’s release. In talks with Burmese Prime Minister Thein Sein, Mr Obama renewed his appeal for the release of the Nobel Prize laureate and all other political prisoners held in Burmese prisons.

    Whilst calling for a new policy of dialogue with Myanmar, the US administration has nevertheless set improved human rights in the country as a condition for an end to sanctions against the Asian country.

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    See also

    21/05/2013 UNITED STATES - MYANMAR
    As Obama welcomes Myanmar president, praises his reforms, human rights activists criticise him
    Thein Sein makes an historic visit to the United States, the first Burmese head of state in 50 years to step on the White House lawn. The US president praised his "genuine efforts", but at the same time calls for the protection of minorities, particularly the Rohingya. His Myanmar counterpart says he is committed a "new national identity" that does not distinguish between ethnic and religious groups.

    17/08/2009 MYANMAR – UNITED STATES
    Aung San Suu Kyi “not opposed” to lifting some sanctions
    US Senator Jim Webb makes the claim after meeting Myanmar’s opposition leader. Review of policy towards the military junta is needed since it has proven ineffective. US citizen John Yettaw, who caused Nobel Prize laureate’s arrest, has left the country.

    18/05/2012 MYANMAR - UNITED STATES
    Washington removes some sanctions and appoints an ambassador to Myanmar
    U.S. President Obama speaks of a "new chapter" in relations between the United States and Burma. Derek Mitchell will lead U.S. diplomatic efforts in the Southeast Asian nation, first in 22 years. Hillary Clinton invites American businessmen to invest "responsibly".

    05/10/2009 MYANMAR
    World not realising military junta does not want to change, Burmese exile says
    Tint Swe, member of the Burmese parliament-in-exile, talks to AsiaNews about the dramatic situation in his country. The phony conviction against pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is indicative of the military regime’s brutality in light of weak international pressures.

    04/11/2009 MYANMAR - UNITED STATES
    Yangon, Aung San Suu Kyi meets with U.S. diplomats
    The face to face meeting started at about 11.30 in Innya Lake hotel, in Yangon. In the morning, Campbell and Marciel met Burmese Prime Minister, no contact, however, with Than Shwe, leader of the military junta in power. Former Burmese diplomat: "The chief general is not willing to compromise."



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