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Aung San Suu Kyi predicts free elections in her lifetime in Burma


Aung San Suu Kyi pictured with British Foreign Minister William Hague

Aung San Suu Kyi pictured with British Foreign Minister William Hague

Aung San Suu Kyi pictured with British Foreign Minister William Hague

Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has predicted that democracy will come to Burma before she dies.

The opposition leader's National League for Democracy registered as a political party, having boycotted the 2010 polls. Miss Suu Kyi said: "I trust the president, but I can't yet trust the government for the simple reason that I don't yet know all the members of government."

She added: "The most important thing about the president is that he is an honest man... [He is] a man capable of taking risks if he thinks they are worth taking."

Burma will continue releasing political prisoners as part of its "irreversible" reforms, its foreign minister told William Hague in the capital Naypyitaw on Thursday.

William Hague, is making the first visit to Burma by a British foreign secretary for more than 50 years as part of a concerted effort to cajole the former military regime into speeding up political changes which have seen greater press and trade union freedoms, the release of prominent political prisoners and the return of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi to the national stage.

His visit follows that of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in November last year, when she pledged to match significant political reforms made by the Burma government with reciprocal measures to help ease its international isolation.

The United States voiced its disappointment earlier this week when President Thein Sein marked Burma's 64th anniversary of its independence from Britain without releasing any political prisoners.

Instead it made cuts in sentences being served by long-term prisoners.

Up to 1000 political prisoners, including former student leaders, minority rebel figures and government critics, remain in jail despite the release of just over 200 detainees in October last year.

After meeting the president this afternoon, Mr Hague will return to the former capital Rangoon to hear the concerns of ethnic minority leaders and to have dinner with Aung San Suu Kyi.