Newly freed Burmese democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi is offering an olive branch to the country's military regime that kept her confined for most of the last two decades.
In an exclusive interview with VOA, the 65-year-old Nobel Peace laureate said she and her supporters "are certainly not bent on clashing" with the military rulers. She added, "We hope very much that the regime will understand that clashing is not a solution to Burma's problems."
Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest Saturday and was greeted by thousands of supporters as she emerged from her lakeside home. On Sunday, in a speech at the headquarters of her National League for Democracy party, she said freedom of speech is the cornerstone of democracy.
She said she wants to work with all democratic forces in seeking change in Burma, but that it has to be accomplished in the "right way" through discussions with the military leaders. Otherwise, she said, democratic forces will not be able to achieve their goal, "however noble or correct it may be."
The Nobel laureate told VOA in a telephone interview that she will work to try to persuade the military government that "national reconciliation is in everybody's interest." She said she believes that if both sides are really willing to find a solution, they can find one. She added that they should discuss what is possible and then work on that.
Aung San Suu Kyi said she will be calling on governments and people throughout the world to find out how to work together. She said there are many things the international community could do for Burma that are practicable and reasonable. But she did not spell out what she thinks those are.
Despite making an offer to discuss national issues with the military rulers, Aung San Suu Kyi noted there have been many questions raised about the fairness of the Nov. 7 election in Burma. She said her political party has formed a committee to look into the matter and will be issuing a report very soon.
Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party won a landslide victory in Burma's national election two decades ago, but the military rulers refused to allow it to take power.
The rulers did not allow international observers to enter Burma to watch the November 7 voting, but there were reports of punishment being meted out to those who voted against the military's political party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP.