Suu Kyi says army has to give up excessive power
OSLO, (Reuters) - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, on her first visit to Europe in nearly a quarter of a century, warned that her country’s political transformation was not irreversible and the military had to give up its excessive powers.
Suu Kyi, in Norway to accept her 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, called for national reconciliation but skirted the issue of Myanmar’s recent ethnic violence, which has threatened to derail its transformation from dictatorship.
“We are not at the end of the road, by no means, we are just starting out,” said a tired-looking, rarely smiling Suu Kyi, who still appeared to be recovering from falling ill on Thursday.
However, she rejected a suggestion that her aim was to dismantle the military.
“I have never thought that I was doing anything against the military, I’ve always said I want the military, the army to be an honourable, professional army that is respected by the people,” Suu Kyi said at a press conference with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg yesterday.
“I fight against what is dangerous for the democratic process and the military having the kind of powers that they shouldn’t have certainly endangers the democratic process,” said Suu Kyi, daughter of General Aung San, Myanmar’s independence hero, who was assassinated in 1947.
Suu Kyi, who spent a total of 15 years under house arrest between 1989 and her release in late 2010, has been negotiating a fragile transition with President Thein Sein and entered parliament in a special by-election in April.
Suu Kyi’s 17-day European trip has been clouded by sectarian violence between Rakhine Buddhists and stateless Muslim Rohingyas, testing Myanmar’s 15-month-old quasi-civilian government.