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Suu Kyi sees ‘positive’ change in Myanmar

September 18, 2011

YANGON: After decades of military rule, democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi says there are finally signs of political change in Myanmar, but its long-suffering people are still far from real freedom.

In an exclusive interview, the Nobel Peace Prize winner told AFP that the new government appears genuine in its desire for democratic reform, and said an Arab-style uprising is not the answer to the country’s problems.

“There have been changes, but I don’t think we’re all free or completely free yet. There’s still quite a way to go, but I think there have been positive developments,” the opposition leader said at her party offices in Yangon.

“I’ve always said I’m a cautious optimist and I remain a cautious optimist. I do believe that the president would like to bring about positive changes but how far he’ll be able to achieve what he wants to achieve is a question that we still need to examine.”

Myanmar’s junta held elections last year that were marred by widespread complaints of cheating, and in March announced it was handing power to a civilian government dominated by former military officers.

In recent weeks, the new administration has shown signs of reaching out to critics including Suu Kyi, who met President Thein Sein last month in the highest level dialogue since her release in November from house arrest.

The dissident – who has won international acclaim for her peaceful resistance in the face of oppression, and has been compared to India’s independence hero Mahatma Gandhi for her adherence to non-violence – said she did not want a popular revolt in Myanmar of the kind seen in Libya.

“What has to be done is a revolution of the spirit. Until attitudes change, until their (the authorities’) perceptions of the problems which they have to handle change, there will not be real change,” she said.

“Everybody knows that Libya’s troubles are going to drag on for a long time. Even if they manage to clear out everybody from the old regime and establish a new government there are going to be so many problems – the bitterness that will remain, the wounds that will remain unhealed for so long,” she added.

- AFP


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