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National democracy hero Aung San Suu Kyi had her first meeting with Burma's new president.
Burma's national democracy hero Aung San Suu Kyi reportedly had a meeting with President Thein Sein Friday, marking her highest contact with the new government.
A government official told the Associated Press that the one-hour meeting was "significant," but did not share details of what was discussed.
Nobel laureate Suu Kyi was released from house arrest in November and has since repeatedly called for political dialogue with the newly formed government, which was created after what the international community and human rights workers called a sham election. The nominally civilian government came to power after five decades of direct military rule, though Burma watchers say the military continues to hold the power.
Suu Kyi flew to the capital, Naypyitaw, to meet Thein Sein, who is formerly a top general in the military regime, reports the Guardian. It was Suu Kyi's first visit to the capital, which was built five years ago.
“Things are moving in a very interesting direction,” Aung Zaw, a Burmese exile and the editor of the Thailand-based Irrawaddy magazine, told the Financial Times. He said he is “cautiously optimistic” about signs of change in the rogue nation.
“It is a very good sign but we have to wait and see if this was substantial meeting, there are people who think this is a PR ploy."
There is speculation that the Burmese government wants to reach out to Suu Kyi and establish a consensus with her in order to use her influence to persuade the West to lift sanctions on Burma. The government also likely hopes to improve its image abroad while consolidating its power at home.
Earlier in the week, Thein Sein called for various armed ethnic groups to hold peace talks with the government, the Guardian states.