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BBC News – Suu Kyi ‘ready for talks’ to resolve Burma’s problems

Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has told the BBC she is ready for talks with all groups to achieve national reconciliation.

A day after her release from house arrest, she said it was time to “sort out our differences across the table”.

Ms Suu Kyi also said she intended to listen to what the Burmese people and her international supporters wanted as she planned her next steps.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner has spent 15 of the past 21 years in detention.

World leaders and human rights groups have welcomed her release.

US President Barack Obama said it was “long overdue”, while UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Ms Suu Kyi was an “inspiration”, and urged Burma to free all its remaining 2,200 political prisoners

The move came six days after Burma held its first elections in 20 years, which was won by the biggest military-backed party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), but widely condemned as a sham.

Ms Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) won the last election in 1990, but was never allowed to take power. It was disbanded by the military authorities after it decided to boycott last week’s polls.

‘Not fearful’

In her first interview since being released, Ms Suu Kyi told the BBC’s Alastair Leithead in Bangkok by telephone that one of the first things she had to do was “to listen to what the people have to say”.

“The only thing is that if you talk to a large crowd, it’s difficult to listen to them. You have to do all the talking. But that’s not what I want to do.

“I want to listen to what the people want. I want to listen to what the other countries want, what they think they can do for us, what we think then that they could do for us, and to work out something that is acceptable to as many people as possible,” she added.

Asked how she would describe her future role, she said: “I just think of myself as one of the workers for democracy. Well, better known, perhaps, than the others here in Burma but one of those working for democracy.”

Ms Suu Kyi said she was prepared to hold talks with all factions in Burma to help launch a process of national reconciliation.

“I think we will have to sort out our differences across the table, talking to each other, agreeing to disagree, or finding out why we disagree and trying to remove the sources of our disagreement,” she said…………

“There are so many things that we have to talk about.”

The NLD was currently investigating allegations of fraud in last week’s elections, she said, and would soon publish a report.

The 65-year-old said freedom of speech was the basis of democracy, but warned a crowd of about 4,000 people in Rangoon that if they wanted change they would have to go about getting it in the right way.

“We must work together,” she told them. “We Burmese tend to believe in fate, but if we want change we have to do it ourselves.”

Suu Kyi Vows to Renew Push for Change –

A day after her release from more than seven years of house arrest, Myanmar prodemocracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi signaled she intends to keep pressing for political change—a mission observers say has been made more difficult by the military junta’s tightened grip on power.

In a handful of public appearances in Yangon, including a speech before some 5,000 supporters, Ms. Suu Kyi called for talks with the junta’s reclusive supreme leader, Gen. Than Shwe, and emphasized the need for “rule of law,” the Associated Press reported. She also promised to use “whatever authority I have” to pursue dialogue with the country’s generals, who have resisted meeting with her in the past.

Ms. Suu Kyi’s initial public outings, in a country where gatherings of more than five people are technically illegal, underscored both her widespread popular appeal and the daunting scale of the challenges ahead for her. There was no immediate response from the government on her call for talks.

Her comments also raised questions about how far she will be willing to go to test the regime in the months ahead, given its past record of re-arresting her whenever it feels she poses a threat.

Although Ms. Suu Kyi’s remarks on Sunday remained largely conciliatory, they left little doubt she intended to play a political role going forward—something analysts and many residents believe the regime doesn’t want to allow.

Ms. Suu Kyi’s release on Saturday, on the final day of her latest sentence under the regime, electrified Yangon residents and drew words of encouragement from celebrities and politicians across the globe. Supporters chanted “We love Suu” as she spoke Sunday at the former headquarters of her recently disbanded political organization, the National League for Democracy.

A witness at Ms. Suu Kyi’s appearances on Sunday said it was impossible to find space to stand, with residents sitting in trees, on car roofs and on high walls. Some had traveled from rural areas, while many wore T-shirts bearing the words, “We Stand With Suu Kyi.” Police with video and still cameras took pictures of people in the crowd from the roof of a nearby religious building.

Some residents said her release offered the first hope in years that the country’s military regime, which has overseen Myanmar’s descent into one of the poorest countries in the world since taking over in 1962, will change…..

Video – Aung San Suu Kyi speaks before crowd in Yangon, Myanmar –

Freed in Myanmar: Aung San Suu Kyi speaks to Myanmar crowds –,0,4789872.story

Reporting from Yangon, Myanmar — A day after her release from detention, opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi met dozens of ambassadors, hundreds of journalists and thousands of Burmese citizens Sunday, underscoring the importance of dialogue, strength and determination in the battle for democracy in Myanmar.

As the jubilant crowd swelled in front of the headquarters of her disbanded National League for Democracy party, traffic ground to a halt, and people perched in trees, on fences and on vehicle roofs for a look at their charismatic leader.

Her eventual appearance at noon in the doorway of the ramshackle building electrified the audience. “I understand what the people want; they want democracy,” she said to a roar from the crowd. “You must make your voices heard. Only then can we take action.”

Suu Kyi, 65, had been detained by the military-led government for 15 of the last 21 years. She was freed days after a controversial parliamentary election in which the pro-junta Union Solidarity and Development party garnered about 80% of parliamentary seats. Suu Kyi boycotted the election, a decision some members of her party disagreed with and fielded candidates under the banner of another party.

During her 45-minute speech and a separate meeting with some two dozen ambassadors Sunday, she stressed her willingness to speak with all political parties, reach out to the country’s many ethnic groups and open a dialogue with the military government.

“I am prepared to talk with anyone,” she said.

The junta imposed no restrictions on her release, she told diplomats, and she planned to travel around Myanmar and go overseas once she’d caught up on her business in Yangon.

On Saturday, Norway’s Nobel committee invited Suu Kyi to make a belated acceptance speech for the prize she won 19 years ago but was unable to pick up because she was under house arrest. The committee said it would ask Myanmar for an assurance she’d be let back in if she made the trip.

Suu Kyi told reporters she would reconsider her support of economic sanctions against Myanmar if asked to by the Burmese people. The country faces U.S. and European Union sanctions for its human-rights record, with some 2,100 political prisoners still in detention.

“The U.S. position is that [sanctions] can be put on the table,” said Larry Dinger, the de facto U.S. ambassador to Myanmar. “She was very clear she’d like the international community to have one voice and work with the government here, acknowledging that the differences are great but they need to be bridged.”

Suu Kyi has come under some criticism domestically for her support of sanctions, which have put tens of thousands of mostly female textile workers out of jobs even as the military and its associates grow rich trading with China and neighboring Southeast Asian nations.

In the intense heat of the midday assembly, a monk fainted and many in the crowd covered their heads with makeshift newspaper hats, watched over by scores of undercover security people busy recording its attendees on camera. But the uniformed police stayed away, and there was no overt intimidation in a country ruled by the military for the last 48 years.

Suu Kyi, dressed in a green blouse and patterned longyi, the traditional sarong worn here by men and women, urged the crowd to engage politically and get fired up. At one point, as part of the crowd started pushing, masses of people chanted, “Be disciplined!” at the offenders.

The crowd’s size and enthusiasm laid to rest any concerns that Suu Kyi would be sidelined politically after years out of public view. “I’m so happy to see her,” said Bo Gyi, 67, a retired civil servant. “In fact, I was crying. I’ve waited so many years for this moment.”

Suu Kyi offered few specifics. Asked what her next political move was, she said: “We’re moving all the time,” and about the political landscape, she quipped: “I don’t see a landscape. Look outside, all you see are people.”

But she slammed the junta for alleged vote fraud in the Nov. 7 parliamentary election. Democracy must be inclusive, she told supporters, not some system controlled by one man, an obvious reference to the powerful senior general Than Shwe, 78.

Asked whether her popularity and speeches threatened the military regime, she deflected with a joke. “I don’t look so threatening, do I?” she said.

Party officials said they were heartened by the huge turnout. “They very much love the lady,” said Nyan Win, spokesman of the party forced to disband after it decided to boycott the election. “It shows that the people of Burma don’t like the junta.”

Giving her showcase speech at the decaying headquarters building signaled her desire to reinvigorate the party that saw its landslide electoral victory in 1990 negated by military leaders intent on maintaining their grip on power.

Although the ruling generals may have let Suu Kyi out in hopes of burnishing their tarnished image or to try to convince outsiders that they follow the rules and laws, some worry that she could land back in detention on some pretext in the future, as she has before.

“We don’t care much” if she’s rearrested, said U Win Tin, a party leader, who has spent 18 years of his life in prison for crossing the regime. “She needs to meet people and help those in need, and the government may not like it. At the same time, she’s very careful. She’s well versed in this.”

Photos: Aung San Suu Kyi –,0,6691939.photogallery

Suu Kyi Vows to Renew Push for Change –

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Aung San Suu Kyi says to work for national reconciliation in Myanmar

Aung San Suu Kyi says to work for national reconciliation in Myanmar

YANGON, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) — Myanmar political figure Aung San Suu Kyi pledged on Sunday that she will work for her country’s national reconciliation and expressed willingness to meet any person for discussions.

Aung San Suu Kyi made the remarks in her first public speech in front of her party headquarters, packed with a wave of about 30, 000 people, a day after she was released from house arrest.

Her remarks were also made in meeting with diplomats and press briefing.

The press briefing was attended by local and international media persons.

Aung San Suu Kyi, also leader of the dissolved National League for Democracy (NLD), was freed by the government on Saturday evening after serving the last 18 months’ confinement to her lakeside residence in Yangon.

The release of Aung San Suu Kyi, 65, came six days after the Myanmar government held a multi-party general election on Nov. 7, which her party stayed away.

Aung San Suu Kyi had been detained off and on for 15 out of the past 21 years from July 1989 to Nov. 13, 2010.

Suu Kyi draws thousands to NLD office

“I’ve always believed in national reconciliation.”

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Aung San Suu Kyi spoke to at least 40,000 people from the National League for Democracy headquarters in Rangoon at around noon today, after emerging the day before to freedom for the first time after seven years of house arrest.

Wearing a moss-green eingyi and roses in her hair, the pro-democracy leader and beacon of hope for millions said: “I’ve always believed in national reconciliation.”….

“I’ve always believed in national reconciliation. I’ve said time and again that I’ve worked by depending on the strength of the people. But that will be effective only when we can use this strength systematically. Please let me say to the people again: We cannot achieve victory by merely hoping for it. We can achieve victory if and only if we work with courage and determination for what we want. We also need to explore the best path to achieve victory too.”….

“In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, every paragraph starts with the word ‘everyone’. We must respect that concept. Everyone must fulfil their responsibilities and everyone must be duty-conscious. Only through following these principles will our country progress and develop. The people know well whether our country is progressing and developing. The blame game among us for not progressing is useless. I’d like to say please give us authority to do this job. I know well our people will not beg for this right. We demand our just rights.”

Suu Kyi salutes thousands, meets press, at NLD office

Thousands weathered the Burmese sun and congested roads to gather in front of the opposition party’s office, with not an open space of pavement or dirt to be found anywhere in the vicinity.

The visible outpouring of support caused one Burmese in attendance to remark that the country’s generals miscalculated in releasing Suu Kyi so close to the election date, which was marred by transgressions and assessed to have merely provided fresh evidence to the Burmese electorate of the impending need for change.

Appearing slightly past 11 a.m. (local time), Daw Suu, as millions affectionately know her, addressed the enthusiastic crowd in a green shirt adorned with an off-yellow garland. She voiced her support for the Burmese people and thanked them in return for their support.

Towards the close of the gathering, which lasted well past the noon finish time originally announced, she displayed a placard reading “Aung San Suu Kyi loves the Burmese people.” Next to the text was a check mark, a clear slight to Burma’s military and their stage-managed general election held on November 7…..

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