Hollande assures Suu Kyi of support
27 June 2012
Burmese pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi will meet with officials in France on Wednesday after winning assurances from President François Hollande that Paris will back her reform efforts.
On the second day of a three-day visit to France – the last leg of her landmark tour of Europe – Suu Kyi will be made an honourary citizen of Paris and meet with Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.
After meeting with her on Tuesday, Hollande said France would support "all actors" in Burma's reforms and that Paris was ready to welcome reformist President Thein Sein if he wanted to visit.
"I reaffirm here that France will support all the actors in Burma's democratic transition and will do everything possible with... the European Union so that this process goes to the end," Hollande said at a joint press conference with Suu Kyi in the Elysèe Palace.
Asked about Thein Sein, who Britain last week invited to visit, Hollande said: "If he wants to come, he will come."
Nobel Peace laureate Suu Kyi, 67, came to France after warm welcomes in Switzerland, Ireland, Norway and Britain and was treated with honours normally accorded a head of state, including a dinner with Hollande and other top officials.
Suu Kyi was freed from nearly two decades of house arrest in November 2010 and became a lawmaker earlier this year as part of a gradual transition towards democracy in the Southeast Asian nation.
She has used the European tour to call for transparent investment in Burma.
"We need democracy as well as economic development," she said. "Development cannot be a substitute for democracy, it must be used to strengthen the foundations of democracy."
Suu Kyi said "financial transparency in the extractive industries and in fact business in general" were essential to investment.
She said efforts still needed to be made to convince the Burmese regime of the need for democratic reforms but that Thein Sein seemed sincere.