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Updated: September 26, 2009 21:56 IST

Suu Kyi’s initiative to end sanctions

P. S. Suryanarayana
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File photo released by Myanmar News Agency, Myanmar's detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is seen at the state guesthouse in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo: AP
AP File photo released by Myanmar News Agency, Myanmar's detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is seen at the state guesthouse in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo: AP

Myanmar’s celebrated democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi “is willing to cooperate with the junta to lift the sanctions” on the country. Her initiative follows the decision by the U.S. to engage Myanmar’s military rulers even while continuing to pressure them through sanctions.

Ms. Suu Kyi’s political associate and spokesman for her National League for Democracy (NLD), Nyan Win, told The Hindu from Yangon on Saturday that she was aware of the “impact of sanctions on the people” of Myanmar. However, she wanted to know from world leaders and Myanmar’s rulers the actual impact.

Mr. Nyan Win said Ms. Suu Kyi was of the view that the U.S. move was “good.” Her caveat was that any such engagement should cover both the junta and the opposition led by the NLD.

The U.S. move was announced by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton following an assessment that the sanctions had not induced the junta to restore democracy.

On whether Ms. Suu Kyi could participate in the democracy-restoring election promised by the junta for 2010, Mr. Nyan Win said no electoral law had yet been promulgated.

He disputed the Western view that she would be ineligible to contest under a new Constitution. It was drafted by the junta and “endorsed” in a referendum held when Myanmar was still reeling under the impact of Cyclone Nargis. That statute, not yet operational, could prohibit her from contesting for the position of Head of State on the ground that her late husband was a foreigner, said Mr. Nyan Win. Such a ban could still leave her with the right to stand as a candidate in a parliamentary election, he emphasised.

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