Burma Journal Publishes Aung San Suu Kyi Commentary

Posted September 7th, 2011 at 11:00 am (UTC-5)
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A political journal in Burma has published a news column written by pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a move that follows years of censorship by the country's authoritarian government.

The column first appeared July 19 in Tokyo's Mainichi newpaper. It was published without changes this week by the political journal People's Era in Rangoon.

The Nobel peace laureate wrote about her trip in early July to the Burmese Buddhist city of Bagan. Aung San Suu Kyi made the visit despite government warnings of possible political unrest; it was her first excursion outside Rangoon since she was released 10 months ago from eight years of house arrest.

All references to Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma's tightly-controlled media had been banned for years by the military junta that ruled the country before giving way to a nominally civilian government earlier this year.

Analysts say publication of the column inside Burma may signal further willingness by Burma's new president, Thein Sein, to make good on promises to grant opposition forces a voice in the country's nascent political dialogue.

Aung San Suu Kyi held her first meeting with the new president in August, and both sides described the talks as friendly. A spokesman for her National League for Democracy party later told The Associated Press the meeting could mark a possible first step toward national reconciliation.

The new government has in recent weeks also welcomed special United Nations human-rights envoy Tomas Quintana, who met in Burma with both government officials and opposition leaders.

Western nations which have applied sanctions to Burma's military rulers for years say improved ties with the new government would be possible if more than two thousand political prisoners are released.