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MILITARY

Military Agrees to Meet Suu Kyi, Applauds Her Poll Success

Burma’s military agrees to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi, saying “bilateral negotiations will be carried out” to set a date for the sit-down.


RANGOON — Burma’s military has agreed to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi, saying “a bilateral negotiation will be carried out” to set a date and time for the sit-down, according to a statement released by the Office of the Commander-in-Chief.

In a letter on Wednesday in response to a request by Suu Kyi to meet with Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing, the commander-in-chief’s office went on to congratulate the opposition leader for what is trending toward a landslide Nov. 8 general election victory for her National League for Democracy (NLD).

“We will do a bilateral negotiation for the meeting with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi after the Union Election Commission’s electoral processes are complete,” the letter states.

Earlier on Wednesday, Suu Kyi sent letters to the army chief, President Thein Sein and the outgoing Union Parliament Speaker Shwe Mann, seeking a meeting with the three political heavyweights “in the spirit of national reconciliation.”

The president has also responded to Suu Kyi’s request, on Wednesday morning offering his felicitations to her and making a similar pledge to acquiesce to her request after the election commission’s work is done.

Win Htein, an NLD central committee member, told The Irrawaddy on Thursday morning that he was satisfied with the responses to Suu Kyi’s request, but felt “uneasy” about the timetable the offered offered by the president and military chief linking a meeting to a completion of the UEC’s mandate.

“It’s quite broad and a very long process. For example, the UEC will have to settle electoral disputes and other things. We want to see the meeting happen right after the UEC has announced all the results,” he said.

“I don’t want to say they are buying time. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will wait for a certain period of time [for the meeting],” he added.

With the results of more than half of all contests announced by the UEC so far, Suu Kyi’s party has a commanding nationwide lead over Thein Sein’s ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). The NLD has claimed that by its own count, it already has secured enough seats to form a government.

The UEC began releasing official results on Monday and as of Thursday noon, the commission had announced 291 Union Parliament seats for the NLD, with 329 seats in total needed to form a government.

The UEC has said it will announce all results within two weeks of election day.