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Suu Kyi defends actions during Thailand tour

“I don't think that I did anything that could make anybody in Burma unhappy, because what I did was go to meet migrant workers and to meet those officials in Thailand who are responsible for the migrant workers' situation, and we discussed matters of mutual benefit,” Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi told a press conference in Rangoon on Wednesday.

Aung San Suu Kyi speaks at a press conference at the National League for Democracy office in Rangoon on Wednesday, June 6, 2012. Photo: Ye Min / MizzimaCountering criticism that she spoke ill of the investment situation in Burma during her recent tour of Thailand, she said she good discussions with people at the World Economic Forum and with officials about refugees living in Thai-Burma border camps.

“I do not think that my activities there could in any way affect the situation of Burmese people adversely,” said Suu Kyi.

Suu Kyi’s direct, frank comments at the World Economic Forum about potential difficulties for foreign investors in a country that lacks the rule of law, made at a time when the government is wooing such investors to help boost the economy, caused some criticism of her in the state-run newspaper, following comments by one adviser to President Thein Sein, who said Suu Kyi had no been “transparent” during her trip. However, the articles also contained praise and said cooperation between her and President Thein Sein is essential to the country’s march toward a more democratic culture.

“I had given my views very openly at the forum, and I heard that some were unhappy about that,” she said. “I gave my frank opinions so that people can make a correct assessment of the country.”

Journalist who covered her Thailand tour said her group’s logistics appeared to be arranged haphazardly and complained of difficulty contacting her staff. One report said the Thailand staff could not talk to the staff of the National League for Democracy in Rangoon because of “communication problems,” which boiled down to not having telephones that could communicate successfully.

Thai newspapers reported that officials there were upset about not being more closely consulted about Suu Kyi’s travel itenary.

“I appreciate everything that Thai government did to make my visit there are a very happy one,” Suu Kyi said on Wednesday. “The authorities in Thailand were very, very cooperative. I have no complaint whatsoever to make about my time in Thailand.”

Suu Kyi's cooperation with Burmese President Thein Sein has been crucial in winning support at home and abroad for Burma’s reform program, which is opening up the country after decades of military rule. Her support has been influential in leading to the lifting or easing of sanctions by the U.S., Britain, Japan, Australia and many European nations.

Suu Kyi will leave Burma on June 13 to begin a five-country tour of Europe that includes stops in Geneva, Oslo, Dublin, London and Paris. In Oslo, she will formally accept the Nobel Peace Prize she was awarded in 1991. She is scheduled to return home on June 30.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 07 June 2012 12:57 )  

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