Aung San Suu Kyi has met with Russia’s ambassador to Burma in Rangoon in a move that has surprised observers, given Moscow’s close relationship with the ruling junta.
The contents of yesterday’s talks between the opposition icon and Mikhail Mgeladze have not been disclosed. The two are believed to have met for an hour at the lakeside where Suu Kyi had been detained for seven years before being released on 13 November.
“The general secretary [Suu Kyi] met with the Russian ambassador to Burma at her residence this morning. The two sides do not intend to divulge the details of their talks,” said her colleague at the National League for Democracy (NLD), Ohn Kyaing.
Russia is one of the staunchest supports of the Burmese generals, and provides key political defense in the international arena. Like China, it has on several occasions vetoed moves to condemn the junta in the UN Security Council.
It has also refused to join the majority of Western nations in implementing sanctions on the pariah, and is believed to be one of the biggest suppliers of weaponry to the Burmese army, which is facing calls to be investigated for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Suu Kyi has made a point of meeting with a range of political players, both domestic and foreign, since her release but said recently that there had been no progress on calls for dialogue between her and the ruling junta.
It is not clear who instigated yesterday’s meeting, nor how it was received by the Burmese government, which recently held elections that Suu Kyi was banned from participating in.