Wednesday, October 26, 2011

U.S. special representative to Burma meets with Suu Kyi

New Delhi (Mizzima) – The U.S. Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma, Ambassador Derek Mitchell, met with Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday during the last day of a two-day visit to Burma.
US special envoy to Burma Ambassador Derek Mitchell met with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in September 2011, in this file photo. Photo: Mizzima
US special envoy to Burma Ambassador Derek Mitchell met with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in September 2011, in this file photo. Photo: Mizzima

The 90-minute meeting was held in the home of the U.S. deputy ambassador in Rangoon, National League for Democracy spokesman Nyan Win told Mizzima.

“All I can disclose is it’s true that they held a meeting. I don’t have any other things to announce,” Nyan Win said.

Local and foreign journalists waited in front of Suu Kyi’s home to collect news about the meeting, but Mitchell and Suu Kyi did not issue any statements or make any comments.

Mitchell arrived in Burma the day after Suu Kyi told the Wall Street Journal that she wanted to see more political and social changes before she could support lifting Western economic sanctions against Burma.

Mitchell paid his first official visit to Burma in September as U.S. special representative and policy coordinator for Burma. He met government and NLD leaders and other political groups.

During his visit, newly released political prisoners sent a letter to Mitchell through the U.S. Embassy. The letter contained three points, “Sanchaung” Ko Ko Gyi, an 88-generation student, told Mizzima.

“We demanded three points; to release political prisoners as soon as possible; to stop the government’s military offensives in ethnic areas and announce a nationwide cease-fire and to hold an all-inclusive dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi and ethnic representatives,” Ko Ko Gyi said.

Because of time restrictions, 55 out of the 234 political prisoners released on October 12 signed the letter.

Talking about their demands, Ko Ko Gyi said, “If Burma wants to solve the problems and wants to come out of its shell, it must fulfill the three demands. Without releasing political prisoners, political problems cannot be solved. That’s why we urged the government and the U.S. representative who presently has good communication with the government [to take actions].”

During his two-day visit, Mitchell also met with government officials, including foreign minister Wunna Maung Lwin in Naypyitaw.

Earlier, observers said he might be carrying a message to put pressure on the Burmese government to speed up the release of political prisoners, and he was also expected to discuss the fighting in ethnic areas.

Ko Ko Gyi said that only seven 88-generation students, including him, were released out of 37 students in prison, in the latest amnesty.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), about 1,800 political prisoners remain in prisons, and 122 are in poor health.
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