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Newly elected Suu Kyi meets Myanmar Prez

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - 12:33

Naypyidaw: Myanmar opposition leader Aung San
Suu Kyi Wednesday held talks with President Thein Sein for the first time since her landmark election to political office
earlier this month.

The two met at the president`s official residence in the
capital Naypyidaw and were expected to have lunch with Thein
Sein`s family, according to her aides.

It was her second meeting with the former junta prime
minister since he took office last year, marking the end of
nearly half a century of outright military rule.

When asked by reporters earlier, Suu Kyi declined to say what
she expected would be discussed during the closed-door talks,
which a government official earlier described as "a private

The veteran dissident has rejected suggestions that she
could enter government after her by-election victory.

But she has not ruled out taking on an advisory role,
particularly on the subject of the ethnic minority conflicts
that have gripped parts of the country since independence in

The pair held talks in August 2011 as the once-reclusive
country embarked on a surprising series of reforms, including
welcoming Suu Kyi`s party into the political mainstream and
freeing scores of political prisoners.

That meeting paved the way for the opposition leader to
rejoin the official political arena and stand for election for
public office for the first time.

Suu Kyi has said she believes Thein Sein genuinely wants to pursue democratic reforms although it is unclear whether he has the total support of the military.
The 66-year-old, who spent 15 of the past 22 years locked
up by the junta, will take her seat in the lower house of
parliament for the first time on April 23 after a decisive
victory in April 1 by-elections.

Her National League for Democracy (NLD) party secured 43
of the 44 seats it contested, becoming the main opposition
force in a national parliament that remains dominated by the
military and its political allies.

The vote was largely praised as a step towards democracy
by the international community, and Western nations are
beginning to lift sanctions on Myanmar as a reward for the
British Prime Minister David Cameron is due to hold talks
with both Thein Sein and Suu Kyi on Friday as part of a visit
to the country that will be the first by a top Western leader
for decades.

Thein Sein`s quasi-civilian regime came to power following
a controversial 2010 election that was marred by the absence
of Suu Kyi and her party and won by the military`s political

Observers say the regime now needs Suu Kyi in Parliament
to bolster the legitimacy of its political system and spur an
easing of Western sanctions.


First Published: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - 12:33
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