Friday, January 11, 2008

Suu Kyi Meets Junta’s Liaison Officer Again

By Wai Moe

Burma’s detained opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, met with the Burmese junta’s liaison officer, ex Maj-Gen Aung Kyi, on Friday, according to sources in Rangoon.

A convoy of vehicles, which was said to transport Suu Kyi, left her lakeside residence about 1 p.m. and returned about 2 p.m.

The meeting between Suu Kyi and Aung Kyi, who is also Minister of Labor, was the forth since the crackdown on pro-democracy protests in September. The meeting has not been officially confirmed by authorities or Suu Kyi supporters.

“In the past we couldn’t talk with the junta. If we can talk, it is a good sign for the political process,” said Nyan Win, a spokesperson for the National League for Democracy (NLD). “To reconcile with each other, we must start talks.”

The third meeting between Suu Kyi and Aung Kyi was on November 19, during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations meeting in Singapore.

The NLD openly criticized the process in December, after two months without any meetings, saying the government needed to move faster and that no NLD officials had been allowed to meet with Suu Kyi, which was a specific request made by Suu Kyi during her meeting with the United Nation’s special envoy to Burma, Ibrahim Gambari, in early November.

Aung Kyi, who was appointed as liaison officer on October 9 last year, said during s press conference in December in Naypyidaw that his three meetings with the Nobel peace prize winner had yielded "positive developments."

“I met with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi for three times. We have made progress at the meetings. The first meeting was aimed at gaining understanding between us. The second meeting was to discuss frameworks for the future. The third meeting was to discuss the facts that should be included in the framework,” said Aung Kyi during the press conference.

“We will release information related to the meetings when necessary,” he said. “Regarding the time frame, we will continue to hold meetings with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. We need to consider what to discuss and why. We are choosing ‘What’ and ‘Why.’ So, we will take ‘Where,’ ‘How’ and ‘When’ into consideration in the future.”

Some members of the international community and dissident groups say the junta is not really interested in dialogue, noting that Snr-Gen Than Shwe, the head of the junta, has shown no sign of honoring a commitment to meet with Suu Kyi himself, which he made in talks with Gambari.

The junta leaders offered to meet with Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest, but only on condition she renounce calls for international sanctions against the military regime, which has been widely condemned for its crackdown on the anti-junta protests in September.

The NLD sent a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently expressing its readiness to accept the U.N. special envoy’s mediation efforts for political dialogue and national reconciliation.

Source: Irrawaddy News

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