Myanmar opposition leader discusses sanctions with US official

Friday, December 10, 2010

YANGON - US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Joseph Yun Friday discussed sanctions with recently released Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

“We talked of many things,” Suu Kyi said of the meeting at her lakeside Yangon home, which served as the Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s prison for most of the past two decades. “We also discussed about sanctions, but I cannot tell you in detail.”

Executive members of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) opposition party also attended the meeting.

Suu Kyi, who was freed from her latest seven years of home detention Nov 13, previously had stated that she was willing to review her support of Western economic sanctions on the country’s military regime on the condition that only the ones that harm the public are lifted.

Yun, who arrived in Myanmar Tuesday, met with Myanmar Foreign Minister Nyan Win, police chief Khin Yi and officials from the Science and Technology Ministry Thursday at the capital, Naypyitaw.

“We had a good meeting and talked about national reconciliation,” NLD executive member Win Tin said. “As he is an Asian, we feel the talks were more friendly.”

Yun, deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific, was scheduled to depart Friday evening.

He was the highest-ranking US official to visit Myanmar since the ruling junta held the country’s first election in two decades Nov 7.

US President Barack Obama called the election a sham because Suu Kyi was barred from participating and because of other restrictions intended to ensure military-backed candidates won.

But the US administration has signaled its willingness to engage the ruling junta diplomatically and economically to encourage reforms. Suu Kyi has also said she favours dialogue with the regime and that she does not aspire to political office herself.

US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell visited Myanmar in November 2009 and in May. He met with Suu Kyi, then still under house arrest, during his second visit.

Filed under: Diplomacy

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