A Timeline of Suu Kyi’s Many Meetings

By The Irrawaddy 1 December 2015

RANGOON — (UPDATED, Dec. 8) Following the National League for Democracy (NLD)’s emphatic election victory on Nov. 8, party leader Aung San Suu Kyi finally held separate one-on-one meetings with Burma Army chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing and President Thein Sein in Naypyidaw on Dec. 2. Both men confirmed their commitment to a peaceful transfer of power to the next government in March. Two days later, Suu Kyi spent more than two hours meeting with Snr-Gen Than Shwe, the country’s leader under the previous military junta.

The following is an updated chronology, first published in November last year, of major meetings between NLD leader Suu Kyi and various establishment figures since the nationwide pro-democracy uprising of 1988.

Dec. 4, 2015 — National League for Democracy (NLD) chairwoman Aung San Suu Kyi meets former dictator Than Shwe at his residence in Naypyidaw. Quoting the ex-junta leader, Than Shwe’s grandson Nay Shwe Thway Aung wrote on Facebook: “It is the truth that she will become the future leader of the country after winning the election. I will support her with all of my efforts if she works for the development of this country.”

Dec. 2, 2015 — Suu Kyi meets President Thein Sein and military commander-in-chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing separately in Burma’s capital Naypyidaw. Thein Sein and Suu Kyi are said to have discussed ensuring a peaceful power transfer. Her meeting with the commander-in-chief is their first bilateral sit-down since Min Aung Hlaing assumed the post in 2011. “Both sides agreed to follow the people’s wish to collaborate for the country’s stability, rule of law, national unity and development during the meeting,” read a statement released by the military afterward.

Nov. 19, 2015 — Union Parliament Speaker Shwe Mann meets Suu Kyi on the opening day of the 13th regular session of Parliament following a request by the opposition leader, who sent separate letters on Nov. 10 to Thein Sein, Min Aung Hlaing and Shwe Mann after preliminary election results indicated a big win for her party. Shwe Mann and Suu Kyi have met several times since then.

Jan. 12, 2015 — Thein Sein convenes 48-party talks in Naypyidaw involving Suu Kyi, Shwe Mann, the two vice-presidents, Min Aung Hlaing, 28 ethnic affairs ministers, leaders of ethnic political parties and USDP general secretary Htay Oo. Suu Kyi said the large gathering “shouldn’t be an excuse” to avoid her party’s proposed narrower dialogue.

April 8, 2015 — Another round of 48-party talks is held in Naypyidaw ahead of a six-party dialogue.

April 10, 2015 — A six-party dialogue on constitutional reform and upcoming national elections is held in Naypyidaw involving President Thein Sein, Aung San Suu Kyi, parliamentary leaders, an ethnic representative and the Burma Army commander in chief Min Aung Hlaing.

Oct. 31, 2014 — The first-ever high-level roundtable meeting is held in Naypyidaw with 14 participants in attendance: Thein Sein; Min Aung Hlaing; Suu Kyi; Deputy Commander-in-Chief Soe Win; Shwe Mann; Upper House Speaker Khin Aung Myint; Union Election Commission chairman Tin Aye; vice presidents Nyan Tun and Sai Mauk Kham; USDP Vice Chairman Htay Oo; National Unity Party representative Thein Tun; Nationalities Brotherhood Federation leader Sai Aik Pao; Federal Democratic Alliance leader Khin Maung Swe; and United Nationalities Alliance leader Khun Htun Oo. The meeting yields little against high expectations from political parties and the general public.

March 9, 2014 — Suu Kyi meets Thein Sein, their fourth sit-down since their historic first meeting in 2011. During the meeting, the two leaders may have discussed a four-party meeting that Suu Kyi had proposed to the president in November. The opposition leader has called for talks to be held involving herself, Thein Sein, the powerful Lower House Speaker Shwe Mann and the Burmese military’s commander in chief, Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing, to discuss amendments to Burma’s Constitution.

Aug. 31, 2013 — Thein Sein and Suu Kyi meet in Naypyidaw and exchange views on the state of the country’s political affairs.

Sept. 25, 2012 — Suu Kyi and Thein Sein meet in New York. On Sept. 16, Suu Kyi began a 17-day visit to Washington, New York, Kentucky and the West Coast. Thein Sein arrived in New York on Sept. 25 for the UN General Assembly.

In September, Thein Sein says in an interview with BBC that he could accept a Suu Kyi presidency.

Aug. 12, 2012 — Suu Kyi holds her first talks with Thein Sein since becoming a member of Parliament. The Burmese opposition leader and Thein Sein discuss a wide range of issues but details of the two-hour meeting are confidential, according to Col. Zaw Htay, director of the President’s Office. The talks take place in the capital, Naypyidaw.

April 12, 2012 — Suu Kyi meets Thein Sein again ahead of her historic entry into Parliament. NLD spokesman Nyan Win says that during the talks in the capital, Naypyidaw, the two discussed democratization and the peace process with ethnic rebels, as well as parliamentary affairs.

Aug. 19, 2011 — Aung San Suu Kyi meets President Thein Sein for the first time in Naypyidaw. The meeting lasts nearly an hour and is “significant,” a government official says. The meeting is believed to have paved the way for the NLD to rejoin electoral politics and collaborate in promoting political reconciliation.

October 2007 — Suu Kyi meets then Information Minister Aung Kyi, who was appointed by Burma’s military junta as a liaison to hold talks with Suu Kyi. He meets with the opposition leader at least three times over the next four years.

January 2002 — Suu Kyi meets Than Shwe. Following the meeting, the junta steps up the release of political prisoners and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party is allowed to reopen 35 of its branches in Rangoon.

1989 — Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi tries in vain to meet with then Snr-Gen Saw Maung in the aftermath of the 1988 pro-democracy uprising.

Sept. 20, 1994 —Suu Kyi meets the chairman of State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), Gen. Than Shwe, and Secretary One, Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt, at a governmental guesthouse. The meeting is the result of mediation by Dr. Rewata Dhamma, a Burmese Buddhist monk living in the United Kingdom.

Oct. 28, 1994 — A second meeting between SLORC representatives—Khin Nyunt, Armed Forces Judge-Advocate Brig-Gen Than Oo and Armed Forces Inspector-General Brig-Gen Tin Aye—and Suu Kyi takes place at a governmental guesthouse.2000 — Suu Kyi meets then Sen-Gen Than Shwe. Details of the exact time and venue are unknown.

This post was updated on Dec. 8 to include Suu Kyi’s latest meetings, on Nov. 19, Dec. 2 and Dec. 4.

Research by Thet Ko Ko and Wei Yan Aung.