Myanmar’s detained pro—democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, was allowed a rare outing on Wednesday to meet with the elderly leadership of her National League for Democracy (NLD), with whom she discussed party reforms.
In what was deemed a “positive sign” by political observers, Ms. Suu Kyi was taken from her house—cum—prison on Wednesday morning in Yangon to the Sein Le Kantha government guesthouse, where she was allowed to meet with NLD central executive committee members Lun Tin, 88; U Lwin, 86; and Aung Shwe, 91.
The three-some are known locally as “the world’s oldest active political party leaders.” “Daw [Madame]Aung San Suu Kyi asked for permission to reform the NLD central executive committee, and the three top leaders agreed with her,” Mr. ULwin said.
The leadership of Myanmar’s two—decade—old opposition party has been widely criticized for showing a lack of initiative and unity during the past six years as Ms. Suu Kyi was kept under detention in near complete isolation from the party.
Ms. Suu Kyi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her leadership of Myanmar’s pro—democracy movement, remains the only well—known NLD leader outside the country, a reflection of the lacklustre nature of the party’s central committee.
“I don’t know if reforms were discussed or not, but the NLD should have reformed itself a long time ago,” NLD spokesman Nyan Win, said.
Many members of the NLD leadership are octogenarian men from military backgrounds.
Ms. Suu Kyi requested to see the three NLD leaders in a letter she wrote to Myanmar’s military supremo, Senior General Than Shwe, on November 11, in which she asked “to pay homage” to the three senior party members.
The show of leniency on the part of Myanmar’s military junta chief was rare.
“I think it is positive sign,” Mr. Nyan Win said.
The visit came days before Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, was scheduled to visit Myanmar on 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 Ms. Suu Kyi from house detention and sluggish progress on implementing democratic reforms.
Ms. Suu Kyi, 64, was also allowed to meet with her three lawyers on 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 on December 21 whether to hear Ms. Suu Kyi’s appeal.
She was sentenced to 18 months of house arrest for allowing US national John Yettaw ,to swim to her home on Inya Lake in May, an act that was ruled a breach of the terms of her imprisonment.
Many analysts said Yettaw’s bizarre, uninvited swim to Ms. 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.
Ms. 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, on December 9 to discuss political issues.