Theresa May to hold talks with Burma's Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi


Prime Minister Theresa May will today meet Burma's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi to discuss how the country's new civilian government can support reconciliation and respect for human rights.

Mrs May will host the Nobel Peace Prize laureate at Downing Street the day after she met Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in London's Lancaster House.

The Prime Minister's official spokeswoman said: "It will be an opportunity to talk about bilateral relations between the two countries, the process that's under way in Burma and what we can do to support reconciliation and democracy and respect for human rights there."

Ms Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy party swept to victory in 2015 elections, endured years of house arrest and harassment by military rulers while continuing her non-violent campaign to unseat them and usher in the first civilian government in more than five decades.

She holds the country's specially created post of state counsellor - her two sons' British citizenship prohibiting her from becoming president because of the country's military-era constitution. 

Mrs May could raise the plight of the Rohingya Muslims in Burma, who have suffered institutional discrimination by the authorities and in wider society.

The issue was raised by Mr Johnson, who welcomed the establishment of the Rakhine Commission, led by Kofi Annan, to tackle the situation facing the Rohingya community.

Following his meeting with Ms Suu Kyi, the Foreign Secretary also praised Burma's government for making progress in freeing political prisoners.

"It's a great pleasure to meet Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and congratulate her in person on her victory in the November 2015 elections and forming Burma's first civilian government for over 50 years," Mr Johnson said.

"The Burmese transition to democracy is an historic achievement.

"The courage and sacrifice of the Burmese people, not least of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi herself, has led to a major shift from military dictatorship to a more civilian, democratic and accountable government.

"The UK is pleased to have played an important role in bringing about Burma's emergence from decades of repression and isolation.

"We remain committed to supporting Burma's extraordinary reforms and we welcome a democratic, stable and prosperous Burma that can contribute to stability and security in South East Asia and beyond."