Tue 31 May 2011
Filed under: Inside Burma
Yangon – US Senator John McCain is to meet with Myanmar’s democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi next week, opposition sources said Saturday.McCain, who unsuccessfully ran against Barack Obama for president in 2008, was scheduled to meet with Suu Kyi Thursday, said Nyan Win, spokesman for Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy.
The purpose of McCain’s visit was not clear, and it was known whether he would try to meet with Myanmar’s new president, Thein Sein, or senior government officials.
The senator has been one of the foremost critics of Myanmar’s military junta that ruled the country from 1988 to 2010 before passing power to an elected government after a general election in November.
The election, labelled a sham by Obama, was won by the pro-military Union Solidarity and Development Party, which is packed with former military officials, including ex-general Thein Sein.
McCain’s visit is to follow other high-profile visits since new government of Myanmar, which has long been denounced by the United States for human rights abuses, took office on March 30.
US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Joseph Yun visited Myanmar last week and met with Foreign Minister Wanna Maung Lwin.
Yun, who also met with Suu Kyi, told the Nobel Peace Prize laureate that he ‘wanted to see significant development here’ before the US would consider lifting sanctions on the government.
It was Yun’s first official visit since the new government was formed and followed a visit by UN special envoy to Myanmar Vijay Nambiar in early April.
Yun last visited in December, shortly after Suu Kyi was released from her latest sentence, a seven-year house arrest.