RANGOON — The leader of Burma’s main opposition party, Aung San Suu Kyi, acknowledged on Thursday to meeting with the grandson of former dictator Snr-Gen Than Shwe last week, without elaborating on the substance of the discussion.
During an interview with Radio Free Asia’s Burmese service on Thursday, Suu Kyi was asked to confirm whether she had met with “a family member of Snr-Gen Than Shwe,” to which the National League for Democracy (NLD) chairwoman replied in the affirmative.
Rumors of the meeting, which came less than a fortnight after the NLD won a resounding victory in the country’s general election, began circulating after Than Shwe’s grandson, Nay Shwe Thway Aung, wrote on Facebook on Nov. 19 that, “Tonight will be a historic one.” The post indicated he was in Naypyidaw.
On Thursday, Nay Shwe Thway Aung posted a thank you message on his Facebook sharing a Mizzima article that carried Suu Kyi’s comments to RFA.
“As Aunty [Suu Kyi] has confirmed the meeting, all I have to say is thanks,” he wrote.
Than Shwe, the former chairman of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), has kept a low profile since ostensibly exiting the political scene following Burma’s general election in 2010. Senior government officials have spoken with reverence of the former junta head but maintain he is no longer involved in politics.
With Suu Kyi not divulging the content of her discussion with Nay Shwe Thway Aung, observers can only speculate as to the political salience of the meeting as the country enters a lengthy transition period before a new government takes the reigns in March next year.
“It is very difficult to say whether their meeting was politically significant or not,” said Yan Myo Thein, a Rangoon-based political commentator.
“Daw Aung San Suu Kyi should release a statement about the meeting to [reduce] speculation.”
Asked about the content of the meeting on Thursday, Win Htein, an NLD central committee member, declined to comment.