Suu Kyi holds talks with government

2011-07-25 13:02

Yangon - Aung San Suu Kyi met with a minister of Myanmar's new government for the first time on Monday, raising tentative hopes of sustained dialogue between the opposition icon and authorities.

Just days after the US called for "concrete" progress towards democracy, Suu Kyi, who was released from house arrest soon after a controversial election in November, began talks with labour minister Aung Kyi in Yangon.

"They are meeting now," a government official said without offering further details, as reporters waited outside the venue - a state guesthouse in Myanmar's main city.

Suu Kyi has frequently urged dialogue with the government since her release, but the authorities' decision to hold talks met with a mixed reaction from observers, with some seeing it as aimed at gaining concessions from the international community.

Details of the meeting's agenda were not clear, Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party spokesperson Nyan Win told AFP on Sunday, but he earlier said a meeting between the two sides would be "good".

First meeting

Aung Kyi was in charge of relations between the military junta and Suu Kyi under Myanmar's previous regime, but this was to be the first meeting between them since the new government was formed, an official told AFP at the weekend.

The dialogue is due to take place in the early afternoon at a state guesthouse. The pair have met before on several occasions, including in late 2009 while Suu Kyi was still under a seven-year period of house arrest.

The 66-year-old democracy champion was freed shortly after elections that were won overwhelmingly by the military's political proxies. The polls were marred by claims of cheating and the exclusion of Suu Kyi from the process.

The government has since warned her to stay out of politics.

News of the planned meeting with Aung Kyi emerged on Saturday, the same day that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Myanmar's rulers to have "meaningful and inclusive dialogue" with the opposition.

A US official travelling with Clinton also said the Myanmar government's bid for the chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in 2014 would be in doubt unless it reformed its ways.

The timing of the meeting was therefore significant, said political analyst Pavin Chachavalpongpun of Singapore's Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

Symbolic talks

"They could have done it any week, so why this week?" he said, adding that the talks had "symbolism" and showed "both sides are trying to do some kind of constructive engagement".

Suu Kyi has spent much of the last 20 years as a prisoner in her Yangon home, and some observers believe the government would be quick to limit her freedom again if she is perceived as a threat to their rule.

Renaud Egreteau, a Myanmar expert at Hong Kong University, said it was likely the talks were happening because "the regime wants to get something from the international community".

Maintain sanctions

The US House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a renewal of sanctions that ban the import of goods from Myanmar, including lucrative gems, and restrict visas issued to government officials.

Suu Kyi has said international sanctions should be maintained, at least until Myanmar's more than 2 000 political prisoners are released.

She has tested the boundaries of her freedom this month, in particular with her first visit outside Yangon since her release, when she refrained from any overt political activities that might have antagonised the government.

Suu Kyi's party, which won a landslide election victory two decades ago that was never recognised by the junta, was disbanded by the military regime last year because it boycotted the latest vote, saying the rules were unfair.

Read more on:    aung san suu kyi  |  myanmar

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

  • Thursday Epping - 11:42 AM
    Road name: N7 Vanguard Drive
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bofors Circle
  • Thursday Newlands - 11:40 AM
    Road name: M3 Outbound
    DELAYS between Princess Anne Avenue and Wynberg Hill
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia Lumia 800

The stunningly social Nokia Lumia 800 features head-turning design, ...

From R2395.00

I'm shopping for:


You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.