Saturday, October 20, 2007

Myanmar's state media call for Suu Kyi to compromise in talks with junta

The Associated Press
Published: October 20, 2007

YANGON, Myanmar: Myanmar's ruling junta stepped up its efforts to hold talks with detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, issuing an unusual plea in state media Saturday for her to compromise in a bid for national reconciliation.

The push for discussions follows U.S. President George W. Bush's announcement Friday that new sanctions would be imposed to punish the military-run government and its backers for a deadly crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.

Expanding on sanctions imposed last month, Bush ordered the Treasury Department to freeze the U.S. assets of additional members of Myanmar's ruling junta. He also acted to tighten controls on U.S. exports to the country. In addition, Bush urged the Chinese and Indian governments to do more to pressure the government of neighboring Myanmar, also known as Burma.

"The people of Burma are showing great courage in the face of immense repression," Bush said at the White House. "They are appealing for our help. We must not turn a deaf ear to their cries."

The state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper did not mention of the sanctions in its Saturday edition. Instead, it focused on trying to persuade Suu Kyi to participate in talks with the government.

The government announced earlier this month that the junta's leader, Senior Gen. Than Shwe, was willing to meet with Suu Kyi — but only if she meets certain conditions, including renouncing support for foreign countries' economic sanctions targeting the junta.

It remains unknown if Suu Kyi would accept the offer, which also called on her to give up what the junta called her support for "confrontation" and "utter devastation" — an apparent reference to the recent public protests, the largest in tightly controlled Myanmar in nearly two decades.

The regime accuses Suu Kyi and her party of working with other nations to sabotage the junta's own plans for a phased return to democracy.

Than Shwe has only met with Suu Kyi once before, in 2002. The talks quickly broke down.
In a lengthy commentary, the newspaper said the time was right for Suu Kyi to respond positively to the offer of talks "with a view to serving the interest of all."
"We are tired of watching a stalemate for a long time considering that we should not go on like this forever," the commentary said. "There should be some forms of compromise. If one side makes a concession, the other side should do so. The situation will get worse if both sides are arrogantly intransigent refusing to budge from their stand."
The views in the commentary are believed to represent those of the junta.
Last month, tens of thousands of people turned out for rallies, which started as protests over sharp fuel increases and later snowballed into the largest show of anti-government dissent in decades. The junta claims that 10 people were killed when troops opened fire on demonstrators to disperse them, but diplomats and dissidents say the death toll is much higher.
The violent crackdown was roundly criticized by the international community including the U.N. Security Council which issued its first-ever statement on Myanmar, condemning the clampdown and calling for the release of all political prisoners.
U.N. Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari also met with the junta leader in Myanmar early this month in a bid to bring democracy to the country, as well as twice with Suu Kyi. But he has failed so far to bring about a dialogue between the two sides.
Myanmar's repressive regime has repeatedly rebuffed the world's calls for democratic reforms, saying it will follow its own so-called road map to democracy.
The road map is supposed to culminate in a general election at an unspecified future date. But so far only the first stage — drawing up guidelines for a new constitution — has been completed, and that took more than a decade.


Little Burmese Jamaica said...

how can daw aung san suu kyi respond their call while she is under house arrest