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Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011
Associated Press



DEMOCRACY ICON AUNG SAN SUU KYI
MEETS WITH SENIOR MYANMAR OFFICIAL
by The Associated Press

Myanmar's Labor and Social Welfare Minister Aung Kyi, right, waves after meeting with Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, left, at Seinlekhanthar government guest house Monday, July 25, 2011 in Yangon, Myanmar. Suu Kyi met with the senior Myanmar government official Monday for the first time since her release from house arrest. (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) ó Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi met with a senior Myanmar government official Monday for the first time since her release from house arrest. The official later described the talks as a "first step" toward further cooperation in the military-dominated country.

Suu Kyi's met for 80 minutes with Labor and Social Welfare Minister Aung Kyi at a government guest house. Aung Kyi said without elaborating that the two discussed the rule of law and ways to eliminate misunderstandings in the interests of the good of the country and the people.

Nobel Peace laureate Suu Kyi, the country's main opposition leader, has repeatedly asked for a dialogue with the government to solve the country's political deadlock, which focuses on the military's failure to establish democracy.

However, previous such initiatives between the two sides have never gotten very far. Suu Kyi on Monday commented only that the meeting was in the in the interests of the people and the country.

Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi smiles as she listens questions from the media during a press conference after meeting with Myanmar Labor and Social Welfare Minister Aung Kyi at Seinlekhanthar government guest house Monday, July 25, 2011 in Yangon, Myanmar. Suu Kyi met with the senior Myanmar government official Monday for the first time since her release from house arrest. (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)

Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won a 1990 general election, but was barred from taking power by the army, which instead cracked down on political dissenters. Her party boycotted a fresh election held last November, charging it was undemocratic and unfair, a position echoed by the U.S. government and other critics.

An elected civilian regime took office in March, but it is dominated by retired military figures, and operates under a constitution that ensures the military retains a dominant role.

Last week, at a forum of Southeast Asian nations in Indonesia, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called on Myanmar to open a dialogue with the opposition and release political prisoners to win the trust of the international community.

Aung Kyi is a retired major-general who was appointed "relations minister" in October 2007 to facilitate contacts between the then-ruling military junta and Suu Kyi, apparently on the basis that he had a reputation as a moderate among hard-line military leaders He took his present post under the new elected but military-dominated government that came to power earlier this year.

Myanmar's Labor and Social Welfare Minister Aung Kyi, center, speaks to the media after meeting with Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, left, at Seinlekhanthar government guest house Monday, July 25, 2011 in Yangon, Myanmar. Suu Kyi met with the senior Myanmar government official Monday for the first time since her release from house arrest. (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)

The two met nine times since 2007 while Suu Kyi was under house arrest but details of the meetings were never released and no tangible outcome of the meetings were seen.

Asked Monday about the earlier meetings, Aung Kyi denied there had been no progress, but added that this latest meeting would have better results.


Written by The Associated Press
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten , or redistributed.

Photos courtesy of AP Photo
Images created by Khin Maung Win
Last changed on: 8/3/2011

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