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Suu Kyi Willing to Work with USDP(By WAI MOE)

Aung San Suu Kyi speaks at a meeting with members at her National League for Democracy's party headquarters in Rangoon on November 15. (Photo: Reuters)

Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi told party colleagues she is even ready to work for democracy with the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) though the party was allegedly involved in an attempt on her life seven years ago.

Suu Kyi’s comment on the USDP came during a two-hour meeting from 1 p.m. On Monday with leaders of her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), from divisions and states of Burma.

Answering a question about cooperating with other parties that participated in the Nov. 7 elections, Suu Kyi said she is willing to work with any party that shows goodwill towards the country and that she wanted to work with the USDP if it was willing to work with her, according to Aung Kyi Nyunt, who attended the meeting.

Chaired by Prime Minister Thein Sein, the USDP was directly transformed from the junta-backed “mass organization”, the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA), in April in order to participate as a political party in the elections. State media claimed throughout the week that the USDP won the elections in a landslide victory.

Suu Kyi and hundreds of her supporters were brutally ambushed by USDA thugs in Depayin, Sagaing Division in northern Burma in May 2003. Suu Kyi narrowly escaped but about 100 of her supporters were reportedly killed and she was put under detention.

Monday's meeting was her first with about 100 party key members across the country following her release from detention on Saturday.

“Like twenty years ago, she is still very dynamic although she is 65,” said Aung Kyi Nyunt, who won an NLD seat in Mon State in the 1990 election.
“When Daw Aung San Suu Kyi arrived at the meeting, she told us she wanted to listen to party delegations rather than talk herself but she still replied to issues raised by delegates point by point,” he said.

The highlight of the meeting was her statement that she is willing to cooperate with anyone for the good of the nation, he said.

NLD sources said party delegates also discussed vote cheating during the elections, the NLD’s legal status, national reconciliation and the plan to hold a multi-ethnic conference for national reconciliation.

“It was quite an open discussion between Daw Suu and us,” said one attendant. “She answered every question.”

In response to issues raised by delegates involved in human rights advocation including coordination with the International Labor Organization over child soldiers and forced labor issues, Suu Kyi said she will help with facilitating “systematic” reports, saying all cases have to be according to “laws, justice and the truth.”

Regarding the junta's detention of about 2200 political prisoners, Suu Kyi said she will “seriously” focus on gaining freedom for those behind bars soon and that all cases must be dealt with through truth and justice.

According to NLD sources, Suu Kyi met some diplomats in the morning at party headquarters and then held a personal meeting with the owner of the property used as party headquarters.

 “She expressed her gratitude to the owner for providing the compound and house free of charge for more than 20 years despite threats of a jail-term,”  said Yar Zar, an NLD member speaking from party headquarters. 

Later on Monday, Suu Kyi visited a monastery in Rangoon.

Meanwhile, the National Democratic Force, which split from the NLD in favor of participating it the election, issued a statement on Monday offering “cognitive support” for Suu Kyi's stated intention of cooperating with all pro-democracy forces for national reconciliation.