Thursday, 14 November 2019

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Junta’s response to Suu Kyi will judge Burma’s future: Observers

New Delhi (Mizzima) - There will be a positive change in Burma if the military junta responds properly to the offer of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi  to initiate discussions on having sanctions lifted, Burmese observers said.

Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s party the National League for Democracy (NLD) on Saturday sent a letter to the head of the Burmese military junta Senior General Than Shwe, in which Suu Kyi says she will cooperate with  the regime in persuading lifting of sanctions imposed by western countries.

“The offer indicates that Suu Kyi has softened her stance towards the Burmese regime with the intention of addressing the country’s political problem,” Win Min, Thailand based Burmese academic specializing on the Burma issue told Mizzima.

“There are some prospects of positive change if the regime responds to the approach of Suu Ky and the United States,” he added.

Aung San Suu Kyi in her letter dated September 25, 2009 outlined three requirements for effectively lifting of sanctions against the regime. These are to have an in-depth knowledge of all sanctions imposed on Burma, to learn the extent of consequences suffered by Burma as a result of sanctions and to access the opinion and attitude of the countries which imposed sanctions against Burma.

In order to carry out the task, the letter said, Aung San Suu Kyi should be allowed to talk to the Charge d’Affairs of the US to Burma, the European Union (EU)’s ambassador to Burma and Australia ambassador to Burma.

“As she (Suu Kyi) has been under house arrest for so long, she needs to know the details of the sanction’s and its implication,” Nyan Win, NLD’s spokesperson told Mizzima.

In 2007, Aung San Suu Kyi had tried to cooperate with the Burmese junta for the lifting of sanctions.

Last week, Aung San Suu Kyi also welcomed the announcement of the US Foreign Secretary Hillary Clinton that the US will shift its policy towards Burma by engaging directly with the regime.

The US began imposing sanctions in 1997 against Burma for its poor human rights records and failure to initiate political reforms in the country. The sanctions were intensified in 2008 after the junta’s bloody crackdown on monk-led protests in September 2007.

Earlier, the Burmese regime had blamed Suu Kyi saying that she has steadfastly supported sanctions of US led western countries against the country.

Some experts said, sanctions had increased the poverty of the country and had resulted in the high rate of unemployment as there are few business investments in the country.  

“Suu Kyi never supported sanctions,” Nyan Win said.

Nyo Ohn Myint, a Burmese observer told Mizzima that Than Shwe tried to cover the mismanagement, which led to the deterioration of the country’s economy, by blaming Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD saying that sanctions had increased poverty in Burma.

“For the sake of the people and for national reconciliation in the country, she possibly changed her stance and approached the regime,” Nyo Ohn Myint said.

Suu Kyi’s party the NLD on Sunday marked the 21st anniversary of the party’s formation in 1988, and urged the regime to release all political prisoners including Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and to allow the party to reopen party offices across the country to help begin its activities.

The NLD won a landslide victory in the 1990 elections but the junta refused to honour the results. Instead, the regime forcibly endorsed its constitution in 2008 and plans to hold elections in 2010.

Recently, Win Tin, told Mizzima that NLD has not decided yet to contest the elections but said, “We will be involved if the NLD thinks the election will benefit the people.”

There are some expectations on the progress in political changes in Burma after the US and Aung San Suu Kyi made their offer to the regime on the lifting of sanctions, Win Min said.

“If it continues to commit human rights abuses, does not allow the parties to conduct its activities freely and does not permit Aung San Suu Kyi to contest the elections and refuses to free all political prisoners including Suu Kyi, there is not much hope for the possibility of change in Burma”.


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