Tuesday 15 October 2019

Aung San Suu Kyi meets Thailand's prime minister

BURMA’S opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has met Thailand's prime minister in her first ever audience with a head of government from the region, her political party said.

The meeting was also Suu Kyi's first with a prime minister since her release from house arrest about a year ago, National League for Democracy spokesman Nyan Win said.

Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra attended a two-day summit of regional leaders in Burma's capital, Naypyidaw, and than travelled to Yangon to meet Suu Kyi at the Thai ambassador's residence. Details of the half-hour talks were not immediately available.

Yingluck afterwards visited Yangon's Shwedagon pagoda, the country's most revered Buddhist shrine, before her scheduled departure for home.

The meeting is the latest in a series for Suu Kyi that have raised hopes of democratic change in Burma after decades of military rule.

Suu Kyi also met this month with US secretary of state Hillary Clinton and with China's ambassador to Burma.

She is to meet with Japanese foreign minister Koichiro Gemba later this month and Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague in January, Nyan Win said.

Yingluck is the first prime minister from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to meet Suu Kyi.

Burma joined the regional bloc in 1997 and will chair ASEAN for the first time in 2014 despite concerns from human rights groups that its democratic reforms have not gone far enough.

The ASEAN chairmanship is supposed to rotate annually among its 10 members, but Burma was forced to skip its turn in 2006 because of intense criticism of its rights record.

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