News / Asia

Burma's Suu Kyi Signals Support For US Engagement

Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi says U.S. engagement with Burma is a good thing but says the United States needs to be practical about it.

In an interview with CNN television aired Friday, Aung San Suu Kyi said she is not opposed to the United States engaging in diplomacy with Burma's military government. However, she said U.S. officials should not go into talks too optimistic.

Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest one week ago, after spending 15 of the last 21 years under some kind of detention.  Since her release, the Nobel Peace Prize winner has called for reconciliation talks with Burma's junta leader, Than Shwe.

Also Friday, the U.S. State Department said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent a personal letter to Aung San Suu Kyi.  A spokesman would not discuss its contents.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the United States places a special responsibility on Burma's government to guarantee Aung San Suu Kyi's safety.  He said now that Aung San Suu Kyi has been released, she should be able to reconstitute her party as she sees fit.

Aung San Suu Kyi's release came days after political parties backed by the military swept Burma's first elections in two decades.  

Western leaders and human rights activists said the vote was neither fair nor free and an effort by Burma's military to put a civilian face on its continued rule.

The election results show that the military's political party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party, won a large majority of the districts.

Some information for this report provided by AFP.

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