UN chief Ban meets Suu Kyi in Myanmar
UN chief Ban Ki-moon met Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi today for talks about the country's political future after a surprise climbdown by the Nobel laureate in her boycott of parliament.
The talks at the opposition leader's lakeside mansion in Yangon, where she was locked up by the former junta for much of the past two decades, come a day after Ban became the first visiting foreigner to address Myanmar's legislature.
It is the first meeting between Suu Kyi and Ban, who left frustrated after a previous visit in 2009 when the generals who ruled the nation for decades refused to allow him to see the veteran activist while in detention.
In a landmark speech to parliament yesterday following talks with President Thein Sein, the UN chief paid tribute to Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party for participating in recent by-elections.
"For many years you displayed resilience and fortitude that for generations have distinguished the Myanmar people," he said.
Ban also welcomed moves by the international community to reward sweeping changes in the country since the end of direct army rule last year, and called for the West to go further in easing or lifting sanctions.
His address was not witnessed by Suu Kyi and other newly-elected members of her party, after they last week delayed their debut in the legislature in a row over the swearing-in oath.
But in an uncharacteristic retreat, she announced yesterday that her party would take its seats in parliament -- dominated by the military and its political allies -- and pledge to "safeguard" the army-created constitution.