Myanmar vows ongoing Suu Kyi dialogue

2011-08-12 15:05

Naypyidaw - Myanmar's army-backed regime held out an olive branch to its critics on Friday, pledging to continue talks with democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi and to allow a visit by a UN human rights envoy.

In a rare news conference, information minister Kyaw Hsan said the nominally civilian government, which came to power after a controversial election last November, hoped to get "successful results" from co-operating with Suu Kyi.

The comments came shortly before Suu Kyi and labour minister Aung Kyi began a second round of talks in Yangon.

"We will continue these kinds of meetings for the benefit of the people," Kyaw Hsan told around 50 reporters and about 250 officials invited to the new government's first media briefing in the capital Naypyidaw since taking power.

Kyaw Hsan said Tomas Ojea Quintana, UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, who was last allowed into the country in February 2010, would return without specifying a date.

Role in politics

Suu Kyi was warned by the regime in June to stay out of politics but the first round of talks with Aung Kyi appeared to strike a more conciliatory tone.

She has also signalled her intention to remain in politics and Friday's meeting comes two days before she is due to make her first overtly political trip outside Yangon since she was freed from seven straight years of house arrest in November.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner first tested her freedom with a visit to an ancient temple city in central Myanmar in July, although politics was not officially on the agenda.

Her one-day excursion to the Bago region, about 80km north of Yangon, on August 14 - where she is due to attend a library opening and meet members of a youth forum - will be political, her party has said.

Assistance to her party

She has also issued an open letter offering to help broker peace in conflicts between the military and ethnic minority rebels.

Her National League for Democracy (NLD) was also spoken of in unusually warm terms by Myanmar's army-backed rulers on Friday.

"While the government is struggling for national reconciliation, it is giving assistance to the NLD as much as possible," Kyaw Hsan said, urging the group to officially register as a party.

The NLD boycotted the election because of rules seemed designed to exclude Suu Kyi and was stripped of its recognition as a political party as a result.

The NLD won a 1990 vote but was never allowed to take power.