Aung San Suu Kyi’s last-minute decision to join Myanmar peace talks she had previously criticized could boost the chances of progress with rebel groups who have so far resisted joining the process, Reuters reports:
The democracy champion, who led her party to a landslide election victory in November, shared the stage in the capital Naypyitaw with members of the former military junta, which kept her under house arrest for years and persecuted her allies. Suu Kyi has already shown she is willing to do business with former foes, and, despite a constitutional ban on her becoming president, has also made clear that she intends to lead the country.
Her appearance at peace talks this week attended by the military, members of parliament and some of the armed guerrilla groups waging local insurgencies across Myanmar underlined that sense of pragmatism, experts said. Clinching a lasting ceasefire would be a historic feat for Suu Kyi and could help tens of thousands of people displaced by fighting, as well as open up areas of the country where conflict has prevented development since as long ago as World War Two. It would also bring a more integrated state with a fuller representation of its ethnic nationalities, delegates said.
“In our country, we have many things to negotiate, as there are many key players, such as the army, the government and ethnic groups. So the discussions will take a long time,” said Sui Khar, a leader of the Chin National Front whose armed wing has fought the government for nearly 30 years. “But I believe it will happen, one step at a time.”