Myanmar junta official meets Aung San Suu Kyi

AP News
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Posted: Dec 09, 2009 8:22 AM

Detained Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was taken from her home Wednesday into unannounced talks with a junta official, the first in two months, officials said.

Suu Kyi met for 45 minutes with Relations Minister Aung Kyi, who serves as a liaison between the military government and the 64-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Their last meeting was Oct. 7, after Suu Kyi sent the first of two letters to junta chief Senior Gen. Than Shwe saying she was willing to cooperate with the junta to have Western sanctions against Myanmar lifted.

Details of Wednesday's talks were not immediately known. It was not clear if the meeting was related to a commentary published the same day in a state newspaper that accused Suu Kyi and her National League of Democracy party of trying to pressure the government by leaking the letters to the media before they reached Than Shwe.

"She should have approached the government in an honest way in order to work out the stalemate," the commentary said. "Her letters suggest her dishonesty and are designed to tarnish the image of the ruling government."

Commentaries in Myanmar's state-run media are seen as reflections of the junta's views.

If Suu Kyi and her party "really want to work together with the government in the national interest, they can deliver letters directly to the head of state," the commentary said. "They sent letters by post, but the news about the letters had received media coverage, from the Internet down to radio stations, before the letters were received by the person concerned."

In her most recent letter, dated Nov. 11, Suu Kyi requested a meeting with Than Shwe.

"The attempt of one side to force the other into a corner by making dishonest use of the media might delay the other's response," the commentary said.

Suu Kyi has been detained for 14 of the past 20 years, mostly under house arrest.

NLD spokesman Nyan Win said he hoped the commentary did not reflect the junta's position. He said he could not independently confirm the meeting with Aung Kyi but said if a meeting did take place "it must have been related with the second letter."

Suu Kyi "wrote the letter with good intentions for the good of the country," Nyan Win said. "This (letter) was not confidential and our goal was to make it public at an appropriate time. We did not intend to pressure the government."

He could not immediately be reached later in the day to comment on the meeting.

Politics in Myanmar have been deadlocked since Suu Kyi's party overwhelmingly won elections in 1990. The military refused to allow it to take power and clamped down on the pro-democracy movement, causing the United States and another Western nations to impose economic and political sanctions in an attempt to isolate the junta.

However, the Obama administration has said the sanctions failed to foster reforms and is seeking to engage the junta through high-level talks.