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Cameron, Suu Kyi Agree on Lanka

Cameron, Suu Kyi Agree on Lanka

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Published by: Thavam on Oct 24, 2013
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10/25/2013

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October 24, 2013
British Prime Minister David Cameron and Burmese opposition
leader and Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi have both agreed that engaging SriLanka is the right way to go on the human rights issue.
Aung San Suu Kyi, who met Cameron in London onWednesday, said that if he goes to Sri Lanka he should“engage with all those who are involved, all other stakeholders and not just the government”.Cameron responded: “Very wise words. I will begoing to the north of the country as well and I think what Aung San Suu Kyi has said is absolutely right.”The Herald Scotland reported that the British Premier defended the decision to attend a high-profileinternational summit in Sri Lanka despite his concerns over the country’s human rights record.The Prime Minister rejected a Labour call to boycott the Commonwealth Heads of GovernmentMeeting (CHOGM), insisting it was right for him to attend so he could have “very toughconversations” with the Sri Lankan government.Cameron said he was “not happy” with Sri Lanka’s human rights record and pledged to visit the northof the country, where Tamil separatists fought a long and bitter civil war.He said: “My decision is… The right thing for us to do is to go to the Commonwealth conference, asleading members of the Commonwealth, and have some very tough conversations with the Sri Lankangovernment.“I’m not happy with their human rights record, I’m not happy with what they have done following theconflict and we will have some very frank conversations to make those points. Where I think Labour have got it wrong is that if you don’t go, you can’t make those points.“No one is going to be listening to the British Foreign Secretary and the British Prime Minister if we’renot there.”Suu Kyi said she had often been asked if people should come to Burma during the long years of themilitary regime.“I have always said that I believe in engagement, but they should engage with us, the opposition, aswell.” (Colombo Gazette)
 
Prime Minister David Cameron and Aung San Suu Kyi
 
gave a joint press conference in London on 23 October2013.
Prime Minister
Well, it’s a huge honour to welcome Aung San Suu Kyi backto Number 10 Downing Street. It’s great to have you back here. Youare hugely admired in this country. I’m one of your greatest admirers,for everything you’ve done for your country, but also everything youstand for in the world. Your example, your perseverance and yourbelief is a huge inspiration to people across Britain and peoplearound the world. We wish you well with everything that you aredoing and want to do everything we can to support you.We’ve had some very good discussions today, firstly, to welcome theprogress that has been made in Burma. There has been progresswith your party fighting and winning by-elections and with therelease of political prisoners. But I think the most important messageis that that progress needs to be sustained, and in particular, weneed to see the constitution amended. It would be completely wrongfor elections to be held under a constitution that really excludes oneperson – who happens to be the leader of democracy in Burma – tobe excluded from the highest office in the land. Those would be noelections at all in my view. Those would not be democratic elections. The constitution has to be changed in that way and in other ways,and we will do everything we can to build the international pressureto send the clearest possible message to the Burmese governmentthat these changes must be made.We’ve had very good discussions about the future of Burma, aboutthe importance of dealing with the ethnic conflicts and ensuring therule of law throughout Burma. Again, we’ll do everything we can to
 
support you in that vital cause, including helping with military-to-military contact and also helping with security reform in Burma aswell.Finally, we discussed the issue of aid and development and your veryclear agenda of wanting to see action in Burma in terms of helpingyoung people get jobs. This is in terms of helping economicdevelopment and making sure that growth in Burma is growth withequity, growth for all - we want to help with that. And we also hadtime to mention the specific project of the Rangoon General Hospital,where we’ll be leading an effort to restore and revive that hospital.As part of the work that I’m very proud Britain is doing that in Burmato help with economic and political development.It is a huge honour to have you here. Please say what you like to ourpress and then we’ll take two questions. Aung San Suu Kyi.
Aung San Suu Kyi
I’m very happy to be here and to be able to discuss what has beenhappening in my country since I was here last year. As the PrimeMinister said, the crucial issue at the moment is amendments to theconstitution. If the process of democratisation is to move forward andif it is to be sustainable, we have to amend the constitution to makeit a democratic one. One that will ensure that the future of oursociety is going to be rooted in genuine democratic institutions.Now, this is particularly important because the legislature hasformed a committee for reassessing the constitution. This committeehas to submit its report by the end of this year. So over the next twomonths it is essential that everybody understands the importance of amendments to the constitution, why we need these amendments,

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