UN Chief Meets Suu Kyi in Burma

Posted May 1st, 2012 at 1:55 am (UTC-5)
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U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has met with Burma's pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, one day after the newly elected lawmaker agreed to end a boycott of the country's military-dominated parliament.

Mr. Ban arrived at the Nobel laureate's lakeside home in the commercial capital of Rangoon on Tuesday. It is the first meeting between Aung San Suu Kyi and the U.N. chief, who is on a three-day visit to Burma.

Monday Aung San Suu Kyi and her opposition National League for Democracy party announced they would attend parliament for the first time on Wednesday to take the oath of office.

The NLD had objected to phrasing in the oath obligating lawmakers to “safeguard the constitution,” which was drafted by the country's former military rulers and that sets aside a quarter of all seats in parliament for unelected military members.

The opposition group has now agreed to take the oath of office, but vows to push for constitutional change through legislative action.

Mr. Ban welcomed the move on Monday. In an address to Burma's parliament, he also expressed support for democratic reforms initiated by the country's new nominally-civilian government that took office last year.

“The dramatic changes sweeping Myanmar (Burma) have inspired the world. And we know that your ambitions for the future reach higher still. I have no doubt that Myanmar will quickly regain its place as a respected and responsible member of the international community.”

Mr. Ban, speaking in the administrative capital, Naypyitaw, hailed what he called the “vision, leadership and courage” of President Thein Sein, whose post-election initiatives include clearing the way for Aung San Suu Kyi and her party's successful run for office April 1.

The U.N. chief also praised the international community for its moves to ease long-standing sanctions imposed on the former military regime, and called for foreign investment in the Southeast Asian nation.