Burmese Democracy Leader Meets Again with Government Minister

Posted October 30th, 2011 at 11:25 am (UTC-5)
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Burma's Labor Minister met Sunday with pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi for further talks on issues blocking a breakthrough in the country's long-standing political stalemate.

The meeting was the fourth such effort by the new, nominally-civilian, military-backed government to woo Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy into re-registering as a political party. The military junta that ran the Southeast Asian nation until earlier this year barred the activist and the NLD from November 2010 elections.

In a joint statement Sunday, Labor Minister Aung Kyi said the two discussed an amnesty for about 2,000 opposition political prisoners, as well as economic issues and possible peace talks with ethnic armed groups.

The new government last month released about 200 prisoners, but the NLD is demanding the release of all political detainees before substantive talks on rapprochement can proceed.

In a related development, Indonesia's top diplomat said he believes Burma's recent moves toward reform are significant and irreversible. The comments by Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, whose country currently chairs the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, suggest Burma may gain support from other bloc members to chair ASEAN in 2014.

Natalegawa spoke Saturday in Rangoon at the close of a two-day visit aimed at evaluating Burma's evolving political situation.