Suu Kyi says Myanmar can learn from Northern Ireland peace process


Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks to pupils at Wellington College in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Thursday (Friday in Manila). AFP PHOTO

BELFAST: Aung San Suu Kyi said Northern Ireland’s peace process could help recon-ciliation in Myanmar, as the Nobel peace laureate visited the British province on Thursday (Friday in Manila).

The Myanmar opposition leader said she wanted to learn lessons about how Protestants and Catholics ended three decades of sectarian bloodshed and formed a power-sharing administration.

Myanmar has recently been rocked by anti-Muslim blood-shed and is also trying to overcome the legacy of decades of rampant human rights violations and conflict between the government and various ethnic groups.

Suu Kyi met politicians, police and schoolchildren during her visit to the province.

“The main reason I have come to Northern Ireland is to learn about how you man-aged to negotiate a peace pro-cess in spite of all the diffi-culties,” she said at Wel-lington College in Belfast.

“It is very useful, what we have learned here I think will help us a great deal back in Burma. I want to see from you how you see your present-day problems because I am told the work is not done.”

She said the divisions in Northern Ireland were more deep-seated than in Myanmar, though the problem in her country was more complex, with many different ethnicities and the challenges of integrating civilian and military politics.

Suu Kyi toured the Northern Irish capital and visited the Titanic Belfast visitor attraction, based on the doomed ocean liner built in the city.

On Wednesday in London, she met Britain’s heir to the throne Prince Charles, shortly before the christening of his grandson Prince George.

The Nobel peace laureate also met Prime Minister David Cameron, who said he would help build international pressure on Myanmar to lift its ban on people whose spouses or children are foreign nationals—including Suu Kyi—from running for president.



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