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Suu Kyi calls for cooperation with junta

Sept 28, 2009 (DVB), Burma opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has urged the ruling junta to increase cooperation with her party in order to find a way to end sanctions on the country, a party spokesperson said.

The detained National League for Democracy (NLD) party leader sent a rare letter to junta chief Than Shwe on Friday, speaking of her potential role in lifting sanctions.

A spokesperson for the NLD, Nyan Win, said that Suu Kyi reiterated her stance that she would cooperate with the government on the sanctions issue, but "that there are some requirements for her to be able to cooperate".

The letter, he said, requests that Suu Kyi is given permission to meet the requirements, which include an understanding of the type of sanctions, their impact, and the policies of countries that hold sanctions on Burma.

"This aims for the goodness of the country and the people so we expect that there will be a response," he added.

Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for 14 of the last 20 years, and access to visitors and non-state media is heavily restricted.

Her last meeting with a foreigner was in August, when the junta permitted her a meeting with US senator Jim Webb, who is outspoken in his anti-sanctions stance.

The letter follows an announcement by the United States that it will step up engagement with the Burmese regime, following a review of US policy to Burma.

US policy has so far focused on sanctions as a means to isolate the regime, but secretary of state Hillary Clinton said in February that they had been ineffective and that a review would be necessary.

Clinton said last week on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York that it was wrong to assume that sanctions and dialogue could not be pursued side by side.

"Any debate that pits sanctions against engagement creates a false choice. Going forward, we’ll need to employ both of these tools," she told the Group of Friends on Myanmar [Burma].

Reporting by Ahunt Phone Myat


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