By Nay Thwin
The recent meeting between Burma’s labour minister and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the first of its kind since the new government came to power in March, has been met with mixed reviews by political parties.
Khin Maung Swe, leader of the National Democratic Force, questioned the government’s pledge that it hopes progress will result from the talks, and said that meeting “marks the point of no return for both sides”.
If no results are soon evident, he continued, then MPs would be forced to question the intentions of the government. “It would be a mistake if one is staging these meetings just to temporarily placate increasing pressure [on the government].”
But his party colleague, Than Nyein, said that the meeting was a positive step and held “good potential for the future”.
That sentiment was shared by leader of the Democratic Party Myanmar, Thu Wei, who told DVB that “their three topics of discussion sounded very good”.
Details of the 25 July talks have been kept quiet, although Suu Kyi and Labour Minister Aung Kyi are believed to have discussed rule of law, development of the country and how to overcome the deep-seated political divide.
The meeting lasted for just over an hour. As the chief liaison between the former junta and Suu Kyi, Aung Kyi had met with the Nobel laureate nine times. The labour minister acknowledged after Monday’s talks that to date no meeting had ended with “tangible results”.
Ohn Tin, deputy chairman of the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party, which came fifth in the November 2010 elections, urged caution in evaluating the outcome of the talks. He said that previous pledges made by the Thein Sein administration “have never materialised”, and warned that observers should wait and see before branding the meeting as a success.