Myanmar’s Suu Kyi set to make first political trip
Myanmar’s democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi is on Sunday set to make her first political trip outside her home city since she was freed from house arrest, despite a government security warning. Suu Kyi, who was released from seven straight years of detention days after a controversial election last November, will visit the Bago region, about 80 kilometres north of Yangon.
*”Our party members will take care of her security and also the authorities will help us,”* Nyan Win of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party told AFP.
He has described the visit, during which Suu Kyi will open two libraries and meet members of a youth forum, as “political”.
Security is a concern as her convoy was attacked in 2003 during a previous political trip, in an ambush apparently organised by a junta frightened by her popularity.
In June the military-backed government warned Suu Kyi that a political tour could spark chaos and riots.
She has since tested her freedom with a trip to an ancient temple city in central Myanmar, although politics was not on the agenda.
The 66-year-old has spent much of the last two decades in detention, and some observers believe the government would be quick to restrict her freedom again if she were perceived to threaten its rule.
But there have been signs of a thaw in relations between the government and Suu Kyi recently, with the Nobel laureate holding a second round of talks with labour minister Aung Kyi on Friday.
A joint statement released following the discussions said both sides would work together for “stability” and democratic development.
Also on Friday, the government pledged to continue the dialogue in its first media briefing in the capital Naypyidaw since taking power.
Initial talks in July came just days after the United States called for “concrete” progress towards democracy.
Myanmar is subject to economic sanctions by the US and other western nations which are calling for democratic and human rights reforms.
Last year’s poll was won by the military’s political proxies and was marred by widespread complaints of cheating and intimidation.
Suu Kyi’s NLD, which won a 1990 vote but was never allowed to take power by the junta, boycotted the election because of rules seemed designed to exclude Suu Kyi and was stripped of its recognition as a political party as a result.