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Suu Kyi allowed to go out of Rangoo
Suu Kyi allowed to go out of Rangoon, Junta watch eases
By Deborah Charles
The Asian Age (New Delhi), October 27, 1997.
Bangkok, Oct. 26: In Burma, where very event and article in official
newspapers is carefully scrutinised for hidden meanings, analysts and
diplomats see a possible easing of tensions between military government
and the Opposition led by Ms Aung San Suu Kyi. Last week Ms Suu Kyi, the
1991 Nobel Peace laureate, was allowed to make her first political
appearance outside Rangoon since being released from house arrest more
than two years ago.
Ms. Suu Kyi's trip to a town on the outskirts of the capital went off
without any interference from authorities who had previously stopped her
from doing party work outside the confines of her lakeside Rangoon home.
Ms Suu Kyi, who was officially released from six years of house arrest
in July 1996. The road to her house is blocked, her visitors are
limited, her telephone cut and her movements restricted.
She made several abortive attempts, including a widely publicised train
trip to Mandalay, to leave Rangoon on political business after being
released from house arrest. The trip to Thakata Township to speak to
supporters and organise the youth wing of her National League for
Democracy party was the first to be completed.
"It's definitely positive," said a Rangoon-based diplomat; I think it is
a warming of relations "This could signal an opening," agreed another
The decision to allow Ms Suu Kyi and other top NLD officials to visit
Thakata comes amid other signs of easing of the government's iron grip
on the party.
Last month the State Law and Order Restoration Council allowed the NLD
to hold a two-day meeting at Ms Suu Kyi's house to mark the ninth
anniversary of the party's founding. The previous year the Slorc stopped
a similar gathering by setting up barricades and arresting hundreds of
NLD officials and party members who where planning to attend the
meeting. Top Slorc leaders, including powerful military intelligence
chief Khin Nyunt, have also held talks with NLD officials although they
have not included MS Suu Kyi. The party congress last month Ms Suu Kyi
thanked the Slorc for allowing the gathering to take place and urged
"I am firmly convinced that the NLD and the authorities will be able to
cooperate holding hands together to work for the country," she said.
But she also called for the release of about 1,000 political prisoners
being held by the government, and demanded the Slorc honour the results
of the 1990 general election, where a sweeping NLD victory was never
recognised by the military. (Reuter)