NLD not behind Aung Thaung sanctions: Suu Kyi

By The Irrawaddy 11 November 2014

RANGOON — National League for Democracy chairwoman Aung San Suu Kyi said her party was not behind sanctions that put a senior member of Burma’s ruling party on a US blacklist recently.

Prior to the Lower House parliamentary session on Monday, Suu Kyi told the media that she learned about the sanctions leveled against Aung Thaung after the announcement, and the US didn’t consult her before its decision.

“The NLD has nothing to do with it, she said. “I’m not interested in doing these things while we are working for national reconciliation.”

The US Treasury on Oct. 31 blacklisted Aung Thaung, a hardline lawmaker of Burma’s ruling party Union Solidarity and Development Party, accusing him of undermining political and economic reforms.

Since then there has been open speculation that the country’s main opposition party was behind the sanctions.

Hla Swe, an Upper House MP with the USDP, accused the NLD of asking the White House to blacklist Aung Thaung in order to taint his party, whose elected members are mostly comprised of former junta members.

“I see the blacklisting as a blow to the USDP by the US, which has always had a good relationship with the NLD,” he told The Irrawaddy. “I condemn the US action against U Aung Thaung. I have to add that this is a dirty action by the US.”

On Monday, two lawmakers from the USDP submitted a proposal in the Lower House of Parliament to condemn the US sanctions against Aung Thaung, which was approved with no objections from the floor.

Burma’s Union Parliament released a statement on the same day, condemning the US decision to level sanctions against the MP.

“In order not to have undesirable impact on dignity of respective parliaments, parliamentary committees, lawmakers, national solidarity, national reconciliation, internal peace and the rule of law for which respective parliaments are striving, and improving the relationship between the US and Myanmar, the Union Parliament opposes the announcement mentioned in Paragraph 1 [placing Aung Thaung on the sanctions list] and denounces those who made it happen,” read the statement.