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ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus Teleconference with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

(18 June 2011) For the first time the AIPMC has engaged with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi through teleconference which was held simultaneously in Jakarta and Bangkok. AIPMC MPs who presented were Eva Kusuma Sundari, the current president of the AIPMC, and the former president, Kraisak Choonhavan.

After well wishes and birthday greetings were delivered to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi by all parties who attended the teleconference, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was informed of the works of AIPMC and the situation in Burma which was concerning to the members of AIPMC. Mr. Kraisak expressed his concern over the wake of the newly elected government that encouraged new economic and investment deals, which would further exploitation of the natural resources of Burma. Suu Kyi mentioned that ecological imbalances in one country could affect other countries. She said that people who got involved in the investment had to be very careful since what happened in Burma could affect the neighbouring countries and the region.

When asked about her opinions on the last elections in Burma, Suu Kyi said that changes had not been felt in everyday lives of the people since the elections. “Change is not something we talk about, but change is something to achieve”, she said. She further commented that conflicts in Burma had not been resolved although the elections had passed because “the elections were not done in the right way”.

Matters of security for Suu Kyi were brought up with her plans to tour around Burma starting this coming July. She said that no politician can be confined to one area of the country only (Rangoon) and it was her duty to keep in touch with the people of Burma. She thinks it is the Burmese government to take responsibility for her security.

Suu Kyi hopes that ASEAN plays a greater role in the democratization process in Burma. ASEAN can no longer have a non interference policy since internal conflict can spill over into the neighbouring countries like what is now happening to ASEAN. She also questions the eagerness of the new government of Burma in wanting to be the Chair of ASEAN in 2014 when there are more important things to do. i.e improving the lives of the people of Burma.

On the matter of sanctions, Suu said that a review on the sanctions placed on Burma by the EU would be beneficial as an update of who should be taken off and who should be included as it would be beneficial to the democratization process.

Lastly, Suu Kyi was asked by a journalist to elaborate her opinion on why she was released and why it was easier to contact her at this particular moment. She simply said that she was released because her term had finished and to further hold her under house arrest would break the laws of the country. She also said that with the improvement of telecommunication service in Burma and more facilities and infrastructure were being put in placed, she could contact more with people outside Burma. However, she said that incidences of people still being black listed from entering Burma showed the continued authoritarian rule by the government even after the elections.

 At the end of the phone conversation, the AIPMC president Eva Sundari, said that AIPMC would continue to support Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all the initiatives of the pro democracy movement, that Daw Suu was an inspirational figure for all of AIPMC members and that the support for her grew each day.