Aung San Suu Kyi hasn’t been able to come to Norway to finally deliver her Nobel Lecture, after winning the Peace Prize in 1991. She wants to, though, and also is urging the Norwegian government to launch a dialogue with Burma’s military junta.
Suu Kyi told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) and newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) that Norway will be among the first, if not the first, country she’ll visit once she feels it’s safe to leave Burma. After years of house arrest, though, she has a lot to do at home in Burma following her release last week, and she won’t leave the country unless she feels certain she’d be allowed to return.
Meanwhile, she thinks the Norwegian government and other other governments can now open up for talks with Burma’s military dictators. “I think engagement can be a good thing,” she said, as long as it doesn’t involve approval of the dictators’ rule.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said he was open to more contact with the military leaders, noting that he and other Norwegian officials have long supported both Suu Kyi’s opinions and those of the opposition in Burma that’s struggling for democracy. Støre said it was in line with Norwegian policy that “through dialogue we can make progress.”
Støre also wants a critical re-evaluation of international sanctions against Burma, which many including Suu Kyi now feel have hurt the civilian population far more than their dictatorial rulers.
Suu Kyi’s release from house arrest was applauded in Norway but fears remain over how long it will last. Former Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik, a longtime supporter of Suu Kyi who now runs a peace institute in Oslo, was relieved but said she now needs some peace and quiet herself to start tackling issues in Burma.
She appears to be taking precautions against provoking the dictators, but will continue her work for democracy in Burma. “If the Nobel Committee wants me to come to Oslo quickly, they must also try to see to it that we quickly get democracy in Burma,” she told NRK.