Aung San Suu Kyi meets Burma president

Aung San Suu Kyi, pictured in Bago on 14 August 2011 Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest in late 2010

Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has met the country's new leader, President Thein Sein, for the first time.

The meeting came as she paid her first visit to the remote capital, Naypyidaw, to attend an economic forum.

Government officials said she met the former general at the presidential palace, but gave no further details.

The move comes amid signs that the new government is trying to soften its image.

It came to power after widely criticised elections in November 2010 that replaced military rule with an army-backed, nominally civilian government.

The polls were boycotted by Ms Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), because of election laws it said were unfair.

The NLD won the previous elections in 1990 but was never allowed to take power.

Ms Suu Kyi has spent much of the last two decades under house arrest, but was released late last year after the polls had taken place.


The fact that Aung San Suu Kyi is in the remote jungle capital, the seat of a government whose legitimacy she questions, is an important step - the latest in a series that suggest perhaps some kind of accommodation is taking shape.

The government is seeking to improve its image at home and abroad, to try to show that things are changing in Burma with the aim, eventually, of getting sanctions lifted.

Aung San Suu Kyi appears keen to exploit whatever openings may be on offer to try to influence government thinking.

These are carefully calibrated moves by very wary, old adversaries.

The talks between Ms Suu Kyi and the new president, a former general who stepped down to contest the polls as a civilian, were held behind closed doors.

Khun Han Tha, an aide to Ms Suu Kyi, told the BBC the meeting lasted an hour.

"In my view, it was a good meeting. Later she met the director-general of the president's office and the president's wife. It was like meeting old friends. It was warm and cordial meeting," he said.

"She will make a brief visit to the economic forum tomorrow.'

The talks come amid some signs the new government is reaching out to its opponents.

It has removed daily criticism of foreign media from its newspapers and called for talks with armed ethnic groups.

It also allowed Ms Suu Kyi to make her first political trip outside the commercial capital, Rangoon, earlier this month.

A government minister has also held two rounds of talks with the pro-democracy leader, with both sides expressing a desire to co-operate for the good of the country.


More on This Story

Burma's Transition


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  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Let us all hope that there is light at the end of a long, long tunnel. This is a seriously tragic country that was the World's largest exporter of rice, now it is the third poorest country outside Africa and yet exports over 8million cubic m per day of gas to Thailand. I visited this lovely country and people earlier this year and was saddened - it should be as rich in gdp per capita as Thailand.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    As Winston Churchill famously said, "Jaw, Jaw is better then War, War".

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    I hope that the junta will finally have some decent dialogue with Daw Suu and look to progressive politics and improvements for the people.
    Only time will tell whether this will happen or not, we can only hope that it does.


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