SOLYMONE BLOG

SOLIDARITY AND SISTERHOOD IN THE NAME OF DEMOCRACY

YANGON, Myanmar - In a striking display of solidarity and sisterhood between two of the world's most recognisable women, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi vowed yesterday to work together to promote democratic reforms in Suu Kyi's long-isolated and authoritarian homeland.
  • Wrapping up a historic three-day visit to Myanmar, the first by a secretary of state to the south-east Asian nation in more than 50 years, Clinton and Suu Kyi held hands on the porch of the lakeside home where the Nobel peace laureate spent much of the past two decades under house arrest. Clinton thanked her for her "steadfast and very clear leadership".
  • Suu Kyi has welcomed Clinton's visit and tentatively embraced reforms enacted by Myanmar's new civilian government. She thanked the secretary and US President Barack Obama for their "careful and calibrated" engagement that has seen the United States take some modest steps to improve ties.
  • As she did in the capital of Naypyidaw on Thursday, Clinton said more significant incentives will be offered, but only if the government releases all political prisoners, ends brutal campaigns against ethnic minorities, respects the rule of law and improves human rights conditions.
  • "We are prepared to go further if reforms maintain momentum," Clinton said. "But history teaches us to be cautious. We know that there have been serious setbacks and grave disappointments over the past decades."
  • Suu Kyi, whose party won 1990 elections that were ignored by the then-military junta but now plans to run in upcoming parliamentary elections, endorsed that approach and called for the immediate release of all political prisoners and cease-fires to end the ethnic conflicts.
Suu Kyi, a heroine for pro-democracy advocates around the world, said Clinton's visit represented "a historical moment for both our countries."
Clinton said the two had discussed the "ups and downs and slings and arrows of political participation" at dinner and that Suu Kyi would be an "excellent member" of Myanmar's parliament but declined to discuss any electoral advice she may have given here.
Source: Agency
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