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Last updated at 13:21 BST, Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Aung San Suu Kyi meets new government


25 July 2011

The Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has met a minister from the six-month-old government for the first time.

The timing of the talks is perhaps more important than the content.

Rachel Harvey

Aung San Suu Kyi with Aung Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi with government minister Aung Kyi


Click to hear the report:


The meeting comes a month after the government warned Aung San Suu Kyi to stop all political activities and cautioned against her travelling outside Rangoon. But Miss Suu Kyi recently went ahead with a trip to the town of Bagan and has continued to conduct interviews with international media and maintain close contact with foreign diplomats.

No agenda for the talks was made public. In fact the entire meeting was shrouded in secrecy until the very last minute. So it's not clear if this invitation to talks is a form of private reprimand or a recognition that the pro-democracy leader is still a force to be reckoned with.

But the mere fact that the government has renewed direct contact using a minister who performed the same role under the previous military leadership has raised hopes that perhaps the door to negotiation has been reopened.

It may also be relevant that the meeting is taking place immediately after a regional forum during which the American Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, called for concrete and measurable steps towards reform in Burma.

The true test of Aung San Suu Kyi's talks with the new government will be to see if anything substantive emerges from them. Or will this meeting turn out to be another carefully choreographed piece of window dressing, much in the manner of the Burma of old.

Rachel Harvey, BBC


Click to hear the vocabulary:


cautioned against

warned that it would be bad to do something


list of things to be discussed at a meeting

shrouded in secrecy

with very little information about it made public


official statement of disapproval of someone's actions

a force to be reckoned with

someone who has respect, power and authority and who should be taken seriously

has raised hopes

has made people think that something positive is possible

the door to negotiation

the opportunity for meaningful discussions

concrete and measurable steps

actions which are clear to see that make real changes



carefully choreographed piece of window dressing

an opportunity for propaganda which has been arranged so that on the surface it looks like progress is being made but in reality nothing is changing

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