Suu Kyi meets Burma's President for first time

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The Independent Online

Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi met the country's President, Thein Sein, yesterday, the first meeting between the two and the latest olive branch from the army-backed regime that came to power this year after five decades of direct military rule, a government source said.

Ms Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who spent 15 years in detention for campaigning for democracy, flew to the capital, Naypyitaw, to meet the President, a former top general in the military regime. They met at the presidential palace, a senior official from the Ministry of Information said. The official did not disclose what was discussed and said it was only a short meeting. It was the first visit by Ms Suu Kyi to Naypyitaw, a city built five years ago on a mountain plateau about 205 miles north of Burma's old capital and biggest city, Rangoon.

Ms Suu Kyi, 66, was released when her latest stint of house arrest expired last November, just after elections that were widely criticised as a sham, since the army made sure it dominated parliament and the new cabinet.

Thein Sein, who took office on 30 March, is regarded as one of the more moderate members of a new government that contains hardliners opposed to engagement with Ms Suu Kyi.

The military's unbroken 49-year grip on power officially ended in March, when the ruling State Peace and Development Council made way for a nominally civilian government led mostly by retired generals.