Yangon: Aung San Suu Kyi`s last-minute decision to join Myanmar peace talks she had previously criticised took some attendees by surprise, and could boost the chances of progress with rebel groups who have so far resisted joining the process.
The democracy champion, who led her party to a landslide election victory in November, shared the stage in the capital Naypyitaw with members of the former military junta, which kept her under house arrest for years and persecuted her allies.
Suu Kyi has already shown she is willing to do business with former foes, and, despite a constitutional ban on her becoming president, has also made clear that she intends to lead the country.
Her appearance at peace talks this week attended by the military, members of parliament and some of the armed guerrilla groups waging local insurgencies across Myanmar underlined that sense of pragmatism, experts said.
Until now, Suu Kyi had dismissed the ceasefire agreed last year as a pre-election stunt by outgoing President Thein Sein to win votes in ethnic areas.
"Today`s conference shows how the talks over the political transition and change of government in Myanmar are progressing unexpectedly quickly and smoothly as the parties learn to trust one another," said Yohei Sasakawa, a peace envoy for Japan who has been involved in the talks for the last three years.