Date: Sat, 9 Oct 1999 08:27:14 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Suu Kyi: Burma no different from ETimor
Article: 79041
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From: sonny inbaraj <>
Reply-To: sonny inbaraj <>
Subject: Suu Kyi: Burma no different from ETimor

What has happened in Burma is no different from what has happened in East Timor

Interview with Suu Kyi, [9 October 1999]

Q: What are your concerns about the situation in East Timor?.

A: First of all, there are humanitarian concerns. We feel great sympathy for the people of East Timor and their suffering. And secondly there are political concerns. political concerns in relation not just to East Timor but to our country, to the whole region and to the whole world.

What happened in East Timor is very similar to what happened in Burma in 1990. World leaders have been talking about the way in which the democratically expressed will of the people of East Timor has been overturned by violence and intimidation. This is what happened in Burma. We had free and fair elections in 1990 and the people voted for our party, the National League for Democracy. But because the military regime did not want to accept the results, they overturned it or they have been trying to overturn. We have not allowed (them) to overturn it. They have been trying to overturn it through violence and intimidation.

They have arrested MPs, have forced them to resign, some have gone into exile, there are MPs still in prison, huge batch of MPs were been taken into detention last year because we formed the Committee Representing People's Parliament.


In fact they are using “salami tactics”, trying to slice away bit by bit the results of the 1990 elections. Now in East Timor of course, the people's militia and those who are against independence of East Timor have tried to overturn the results of the elections and one fell swoop, and the world became aware of it and would not stand for it. I think they should understand that what has happened in Burma is no different from what has happened in East Timor, only it has been implemented in a rather different way so that it is less noticeable. So we feel a great sense of empathy for the people of East Timor because we have suffered the same kind of wrongs and also because as fellow human beings we don’t like to see people to be so ill-treated and so unjustly crushed in their own land.

Q: Do you see any similarities between the human rights crisis in East Timor and Burma?

A: As I said earlier, great similarities indeed!

Q: East Timorese leader Xanana Gusmao has publicly supported you and the cause of democracy in Burma; would the NLD welcome an opportunity to work with the East Timorese people?


A: Yes of course, we would welcome an opportunity to work with all those who are fighting for freedom and for justice. And I have a great personal admiration for Xanana Gusmao … I think he's a very fine leader and it is touching to see what great understanding there is between his people and himself. …I feel as though he were a personal friend, although of course we’ve never met. We’re very, very grateful for his words of support and I hope that the time would come when we can all work together promote democracy in Asia and the rest of the world.

Q: Any specific way or method which you and Xanana may meet and come up with something?

A: I think he’ll have to come to visit me in Burma, he seems to be freer than I am!