Burmese President Cites Common Ground With Opposition Leader

Posted November 22nd, 2011 at 2:55 am (UTC-5)
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Burma's President Thein Sein says the government has found common ground to work with democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi for the well-being of the Burmese people.

Thein Sein spoke to reporters Saturday at the East Asia Summit in Bali, Indonesia. He said the government and the political opposition want Burma to be stable, secure and prosperous.

Since bringing in the civilian parliament in March, Burma's former military leaders have gradually been loosening their political grip on the country. One of the most significant developments has been the new government's decision to open dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi. A spokesman said Monday she will run for a seat in parliament in the country's next by-election.

The president said that for democracy to thrive in Burma, the country needs to strengthen its economy and improve access to education.

He also said nearly 20,000 prisoners have been released under two amnesties since the formation of the civilian government.

Thein Sein blamed a failure to reach a peace agreement with ethnic minorities on the different cultures, traditions and goals involved.

Aung San Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy, decided Friday to re-register as a political party and take part in future elections. The party won a landslide victory in Burma's 1990 general election, but the then-military government ignored the results and placed Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest for 15 of the past 21 years.