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US envoy meets Suu Kyi, Ends visit upset at junta pre-poll conduct

Originally appeared in Mizzima

May 10, 2010

US envoy Kurt Campbell met detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi for an hour at a state guest house in Rangoon today, following talks with her colleagues from the National League for Democracy.

The junta has held Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi in detention, or under house arrest in her lakeside home, for at least 14 of the last 20 years.

The US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs arrived in Naypyidaw yesterday during his second visit to Burma, and went to the Seinleikanthar government guest house this afternoon to meet Ms. Suu Kyi. “The meeting started at 3 p.m.”, a local editor said.

Although journalists from the US embassy were invited, local journalists were denied entry to the guest house.

Mr Campbell had earlier today met 10 members of the National League for Democracy’s (NLD) central executive committee in Rangoon.

“He reviewed Burma’s political situation that no improvement was seen and said he felt disappointed … We told him that we didn’t re-register our party,” NLD spokesman and former political prisoner Ohn Kyaing said. “We told him that we would try to achieve our political ambitions by doing social work.”

NLD chairman Tin Oo, Win Tin, Nyan Win, Myint Wai, Soe Myint, Than Tun, Hla Phay, Han Thar Myint, May Win Myint, and Ohn Kyaing attended the meeting at the home of the US American ambassador in Rangoon. 6.5 miles region].

The US embassy in Rangoon late today released a two-page statement from Mr Campbell summing up the two-day visit. “Our strategic goal for Burma remains unchanged: we wish to see a more prosperous, democratic Burma that lives in peace with its people and with its neighbours,” he said, after outlining how the Obama administration had arrived at its policy of engagement with the junta.

“The key objective of my trip was to underscore the purposes and principles of our engagement, and to lay out the reasons for our profound disappointment in what he have witnessed to date,” the envoy said.

He said during talks with junta leaders the US had outlined a proposal for credible dialogue among all stakeholders in Burma that would allow all sides to enter such a discussion with dignity.

“Unfortunately, the regime has chosen to move ahead – without consultation from key stakeholders – towards elections planned for this year,” Mr Campbell said.

As a result, he said: “What we have seen to date leads us to believe that these elections will lack international legitimacy. We urge the regime to take immediate steps to open the process in the time remaining before the elections.”

He also called for greater respect for human rights and the release of political prisoners. “The regime has detained many of Burma’s brightest and most patriotic citizens … dispersing them to remote locations throughout the country where the generals hope they will be forgotten. They are not,” Mr Campbell said.

Violence against ethnic minorities was also criticised. “The regime has ratcheted up the pressure on Burma’s ethnic group’s in preparation for this year’s elections, forcing countless innocent civilians to flee,” he said, warning the junta in a seeming reference to, among other issues such as the rights of the states’ seeking independence, its Border Guard Force. “Burma cannot move forward while the government itself persists in launching attacks against its own people to force compliance with a proposal its ethnic groups cannot accept.”

The very stability the junta was seeking would continue to elude it until a peaceful solution could be found through dialogue with the groups, the US envoy said.

Nevertheless he praised the resolve of ethnic and opposition groups who sought a stake in the country’s future.

He expressed being inspired by Aung San Suu Kyi and fellow NLD members for her “perseverance and commitment to the cause of a more just and benevolent Burma” and their struggle “for more than two decades to improve the lives of the Burmese people”.

He said of the NLD: “Although having been denied a legal framework in which to operate by the regime’s own flawed rules, its leadership remains committed to working on behalf of and for the Burmese people.”

Mr Campbell further offered a clear statement of further American support.

“The United States will continue to stand behind all those working to support Burma’s people, including the National League for Democracy, however it may constitute itself in future,” he said in the statement on Rangoon US embassy stationery.

Of the junta’s treatment of Ms. Suu Kyi he added: “it is simple tragic that Burma’s generals have rebuffed her countless appeals to work together to find a peaceable solution for a more prosperous future.”

Mr. Campbell arrived in Burma yesterday and met Foreign Affairs Minister Nyan Win, Information Minister Kyaw San, and Science and Technology Minister U Thaung in the isolated capital, Naypyidaw

According to provisions of the Political Parties Registration Law, the NLD party was dissolved on May 6, but, the junta have not declared that it was cancelled.

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This post is in: 2010 Elections

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