YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar democracy movement leader Aung San Suu Kyi met Sunday with a Cabinet minister to discuss issues the resolution of which could lead to a breakthrough in the country’s long-running political deadlock.
Labor Minister Aung Kyi read a joint statement after their meeting that said the two had discussed an amnesty, peace talks with ethnic armed groups, and economic and financial matters.
Some 200 of an estimated 2,000 political prisoners were released on Oct. 11 under an amnesty for 6,300 convicts.
An elected but military-backed government took power in March after decades of repressive army rule, and its new president, Thein Sein, has moved to liberalize the political atmosphere.
In the past week, Parliament has amended a law to try to woo Mrs. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy into reregistering as a political party.
The government would like to see the United States and other Western nations lift political and economic sanctions imposed against the repressive former ruling junta. Without Mrs. Suu Kyi’s blessings, they are unlikely to do much.
A recent visit by Washington’s special envoy to Myanmar has raised expectations that major developments may come soon.
It was the fourth meeting between Aung Kyi — the government’s designated liaison officer — and Mrs. Suu Kyi since July after the nominally civilian government took over power.
Parliament’s recent amendment of the 2010 political party registration law appeared to meet some objections from Mrs. Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy that it discriminated against them. Her organization was delisted as a political party last year after it refused to register for the November 2010 election, claiming it was being held under undemocratic conditions.
A party set up as a proxy for the military won a resounding victory, giving credence to criticism that the military’s roadmap to democracy is just a smoke screen for continued domination by the army.
The amendments, not yet signed into law by Thein Sein, are meant to encourage the NLD to reregister as a political party, which in turn would amount to giving at least tacit recognition to the legitimacy of Thein Sein’s government.
Mrs. Suu Kyi has not committed herself or her party to such a move
Asked if the NLD would register, she said, “Once we see the law, then we will hold a party meeting and decide whether or not we will register.”