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Suu Kyi aims for peaceful revolution
Yangon, Nov 15 (Agencies):
Published on 15 Nov. 2010 11:50 PM IST
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Two days after being freed from house arrest, pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has said that her aim is for a peaceful revolution in Burma.
Speaking to the BBC at the headquarters of her National League for Democracy, she said she was sure democracy would come to Burma eventually, although she did not know how long it would take. She said she would take any opportunity to speak to ruling generals.
Her release came six days after Burma held its first election in 20 years.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s party won the last election overwhelmingly but was never allowed to take power.
This poll was won by the biggest military-backed party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), but denounced by the West as being neither free nor fair.
The BBC’s World Affairs editor, John Simpson, said several security officials watched the interview from across the street at NLD headquarters but did not intervene. Aung San Suu Kyi also confirmed that she was not subject to any restrictions on her freedom.
But she said that she was fully prepared to take the consequences if the military government decided to lock her up again for what she said or did.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner has spent 15 of the past 21 years in detention. She was released on Saturday when her latest period of house arrest expired.
On Sunday, thousands of jubilant supporters gathered to hear her speak, as she urged Burmese people to unite. “We must work together,” she said. “We Burmese tend to believe in fate, but if we want change we have to do it ourselves.”
She pledged to continue her work “with all democratic forces” towards national reconciliation.
The most senior American diplomat in Burma, Charge d’Affaires Larry Dinger, told the BBC the US wanted to encourage reconciliation between the Burmese government and Ms Suu Kyi but no more.
“I don’t think it’s for the United States to determine her course or Burma’s course, frankly. From our perspective it’s for the Burmese people to work that out,” he said.
“And the role that perhaps we can best play is to encourage all sides - the various players in the democratic community and the ethnic groups, the government in (the capital) Naypyidaw, to work through their issues.” Around the region, Asian nations have responded to her release with varying levels of enthusiasm, the BBC’s Vaudine England reports.
Asia’s democracies have issued statements supporting her in what they hope is a broader shift towards democratic reform.
“The next challenge now is how to ensure that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her supporters can become part of the solution to the situation in Myanmar [Burma], can be part of those who promote democratisation in Myanmar,” said Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa. Satoru Sato, press secretary to the Japanese Foreign Ministry, echoed that view.
“Now we are expecting the government of Myanmar to take further positive measures to realise the improvement of human rights situation and promote democratisation as well as a national reconciliation,” he said.
Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said it did not make sense “to think that one particular event would be big enough to signal some kind of radical change”. “The challenge more is to see how the post-election scenario shapes up,” he said.
Thailand is one of the leading trading nations with Burma along with China, Singapore and India. Thailand also wants stability in Burma in order to reduce the flow of refugees over the border. By contrast, China, Singapore and Vietnam, have said little about Ms Suu Kyi’s release, our correspondent says.
Some analysts suggest that if Aung San Suu Kyi’s release leads to a change in the sanctions against trade and investment in Burma, China’s leading role in the economy could be challenged.

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