Aung San Suu Kyi meets elderly party leaders

Aung San Suu Kyi meets elderly party leaders

A file picture taken on November 4, 2009 shows Myanmar's detained democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi as she greets a US delegation during a rare public appearance at a hotel in Yangon. AFP

In what was deemed a "positive sign" by political observers, Suu Kyi was taken from her house-cum-prison Wednesday morning in Yangon to the Sein Le Kantha government guesthouse, where she was allowed to meet NLD central executive committee members Lun Tin, 88; U Lwin, 86; and Aung Shwe, 91.
The threesome are known locally as "the world's oldest active political party leaders".

Suu Kyi requested to see them in a letter she wrote to Myanmar's military supremo, Senior General Than Shwe, Nov 11, in which she asked "to pay homage" to the three senior party leaders at their residences because "they are confined to their homes due to failing health".

But instead of allowing the Nobel Peace Prize laureate to visit the ageing NLD leaders at their homes, the meeting was arranged at a government guesthouse.
Even so, the rare show of lenience on the part of Myanmar's military junta chief was deemed a good sign.

"I think it is positive sign," NLD spokesman Nyan Win said.
The visit came days before Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping was scheduled to visit Myanmar Saturday and Sunday.

China is one of Myanmar's few diplomatic allies in the international community, which widely condemns Myanmar's regime for its poor human rights record, refusal to free Suu Kyi from house detention and sluggish progress on implementing democratic reforms.

Suu Kyi, 64, was also allowed to meet her three lawyers Tuesday at her home to discuss progress in her appeal against a recent sentence to another 18 months of house detention.

The Supreme Court was due to decide Dec 21 whether to hear Suu Kyi's appeal.
She was originally sentenced to three years in jail with hard labour for allowing US national John Yettaw to swim to her house on Inya Lake in May, an act that was ruled a breach of the terms of her imprisonment. The sentence was commuted to 18 months of house arrest.

Many analysts said Yettaw's bizarre swim to Suu Kyi's home in early May to warn her of an assassination attempt he dreamed about was an unexpected gift to the ruling generals because her previous period of detention was about to expire.
Her latest sentence should keep her out of circulation next year when the military plans to hold the first general election since 1990.

Suu Kyi, who has spent 14 of the past 20 years under house arrest, was also allowed to met with Aung Kyi, the junta's liaison officer with her, Dec 9 to discuss political issues.

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