Nobel laureate was freed from seven years of detention in November; United Nations human rights envoy to begin five-day visit.
Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi met Friday with Burma President Thein Sein for the first time since the country’s new government came to power, officials said.
The head of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party travelled the 350 kilometers north from the former capital Rangon to meet Thein Sein late Friday, sources confirmed.
Aung San Suu Kyi addressing supporters from her Rangon home Nov. 13, 2010
Photo by: AP
It was not immediately known why the president had agreed to see Suu Kyi, who was released after a seven-year term of house arrest November 13.
Suu Kyi met on August 12 with the government’s chief liaison officer, Labor Minister Aung Kyi, who had apparently informed her about the possibility of meeting Thein Sein. “In their meeting, Aung Kyi had hinted about the meeting,” NLD spokesman Nyan Win said.
Thein Sein, a former general, said in his inaugural address as president on April 1 that he was willing to talk to everyone to develop the country.
Western democracies, the United Nations and Burma’s Asian allies have long urged the new pro-military government, which came to power after November 7 polls, to open a political dialogue with Suu Kyi to help ease the country’s deep divisions.
On Sunday, the UN human rights envoy for Burma, Tomas Ojea Quintana, was scheduled to arrive for a five-day visit. Quintana was to see Suu Kyi Wednesday or Thursday after first meeting with government ministers, sources said.
His visit marks the first time Quintana has been allowed into the country since he angered authorities in March 2010 by urging a UN inquiry into Burma’s human rights record.
This year, the UN envoy accused the new government of continued rights abuses, including land confiscations, forced labor, internal displacements, extrajudicial killings and sexual violence.
Burma was under military rule from 1962 to 2010, and the current government consists of former and serving military men.