Suu Kyi supports end to Myanmar sanctions

2012-09-19 13:10
(AP, File)

(AP, File)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - Democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi backed the lifting of sanctions on Myanmar on Tuesday and reassured China her landmark visit to the United States was not aimed at containing Beijing's influence.

The Nobel peace laureate, who spent 15 years under house arrest, thanked the United States for its years of support but, as she received the first of many accolades on her tour, said that Myanmar must build democracy itself.

"I do not think that we need to cling onto sanctions unnecessarily because I want our people to be responsible for their own destiny and not to depend too much on external props," Suu Kyi said in her trip's first major appearance.

"In the end, we have to build our own democracy," she said in a speech in which she appeared careful not to annoy leaders who have initiated reforms.

The opposition leader had long supported economic sanctions to pressure her jailers, Myanmar's junta, which nominally disbanded last year.

The United States has been rolling back restrictions, in July opening Myanmar up to US investment despite Suu Kyi's earlier unease about US firms doing business with the state-owned oil and gas company.

Weak judiciary

"There are very many other ways in which the United States can help us to achieve our democratic ends and help us to build up the kind of democratic institutions that we are in such need of. Sanctions are not the only way," Suu Kyi said.

Suu Kyi, now a member of parliament, said she believes President Thein Sein is "keen" on change in the nation formerly known as Burma but cautioned not to look just at the executive branch as the judiciary was reform's "weakest arm".

"We have passed a first hurdle, but there are many more hurdles to cross," she said.

On the eve of Suu Kyi's trip, her party said that authorities freed another 87 political prisoners in what analysts saw as a new gesture by Thein Sein ahead of his own visit to the United States next week.

In the award ceremony before the Asia Society and US Institute of Peace, Suu Kyi took pains to reassure China, which was the junta's main ally.

Many US observers believe Thein Sein launched the reforms out of concern over Beijing's overwhelming political and economic dominance in Myanmar.

Marvellous political odyssey


While acknowledging it was a "natural question" whether US interest in Myanmar was spawned by a desire to contain China, Suu Kyi said her country's warming ties with Washington should not "in any way be seen as a hostile step towards China".

"For us to put it very simply, it would be to our advantage for the United States and China to establish friendly relations. This would help us a great deal," she said.

Suu Kyi, dressed in a red jacket with three small pink flowers in her hair, began her visit by meeting another of the world's most prominent women, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who marvelled at her political odyssey.

"It's wonderful to see Suu Kyi back in Washington as a free and forceful leader of a country opening up to the world in ways that would have been difficult to imagine even recently," Clinton said.

But Clinton warned that Myanmar still had "a lot of work" including freeing remaining political prisoners and ending alleged military contacts with North Korea.

"The government and the opposition need to continue to work together to unite the country, heal the wounds of the past and carry the reforms forward," said Clinton, who paid a landmark visit to Myanmar in December.

Rare criticism


"That is also key to guard against backsliding, because there are forces that would take the country in the wrong direction if given the chance," she said.

Clinton also called for Myanmar to address tensions in Rakhine state, where recent violence between majority Buddhists and the Muslim Rohingya minority left scores dead and displaced tens of thousands of people.

Suu Kyi, who is widely respected in Washington, has come under rare criticism from human rights activists, who have pressed for her to speak out on behalf of the 800 000-strong Rohingya population, whom Myanmar's government does not even consider citizens.

Suu Kyi said that her party, the National League for Democracy, wanted to "help the government in any way possible to bring about peace and harmony", but defended her record.

"We are not in a position to decide what we do and how we operate because we are not the government. I think this has to be understood by those who wish the NLD to do more," she said.

Asked separately about the Rohingya in an interview with Washington-based Radio Free Asia, Suu Kyi said that the key was to "remove the roots of hatred".

"That is to say you have to address these issues that make people insecure and that make people threatened," she told the broadcaster's Burmese service.

Read more on:    hillary clinton  |  thein sein  |  aung san suu kyi  |  myanmar  |  us  |  sanctions
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com 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
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Delft - 20:37 PM
    Road name: R300 Southbound
    ROADWORKS - left lane closed at Hindle Road
  • Wednesday Sir Lowry's Pass - 17:57 PM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
 
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!

Kalahari.com - 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 kalahari.com. 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 kalahari.com’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:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

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

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

Hello 

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 24.com network.

Settings

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.