US talks with Myanmar`s Suu Kyi about aid

US diplomat said, talks are aimed at helping plan US policy toward Myanmar.

Last Updated: Feb 23, 2011, 20:04 PM IST

Yangon: The top US diplomat in Myanmar
said on Wednesday he has begun talking with pro-democracy leader Aung
San Suu Kyi about what sort of aid Washington should offer the
military-dominated nation.

Charge d`Affaires Larry M Dinger said the US is also
talking to the government and others about the issue, which
hinges around long-standing sanctions Washington has applied
because of human rights abuses by the country`s junta and its
failure to institute democracy.

Parliamentary rule was nominally restored last month,
but a new civilian government has yet to be officially
installed. The constitution and last year`s elections were
organized under the guidance of the military to preserve its
influence.

Dinger said he began talks with Suu Kyi yesterday
aimed at helping formulate US policy toward Myanmar.

Washington`s relations with Myanmar have been strained since
the military crushed pro-democracy demonstrations in 1988, and
the US still refers to the country by its old name, Burma,
which was changed by the junta. It also demonstrates its
disapproval of the government by not posting a full ambassador
in the country.

Han Tha, an executive member of Suu Kyi`s National
League for Democracy party, confirmed that Suu Kyi had talked
with Dinger for 1 1/2 hours at his residence, but declined to
reveal the details of the talks.

The Obama administration has been exploring ways of
engaging with the government, while Suu Kyi`s party has
cautioned against lifting sanctions too quickly.

Suu Kyi`s party earlier this month broadly endorsed retaining
international sanctions against Myanmar. However, it also
called for discussions with the United States, the European
Union, Canada and Australia on when and how sanctions might be
modified in the interests of democracy, human rights and the
economy.

PTI