Aung San Suu Kyi on Thursday said she hoped for a swift resolution to a dispute that has delayed her debut into Myanmar’s parliament as she reaffirmed support for the country’s reformist president.
The opposition leader and other newly-elected members of her party cancelled plans to attend a new session of the legislature on Monday in an impasse over their refusal to swear to “safeguard” an army-created constitution.
“We hope the present problem will be smoothed over without too much difficulty before too long,” Suu Kyi said at a press conference with Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi in Yangon on Thursday.
Suu Kyi, who won her first parliamentary seat in April 1 by-elections, vowed to continue to try and work “in collaboration with the government particularly because we believe that President U Thein Sein is sincere in his reform efforts”. U is a term of respect in Myanmar.
Thein Sein, a former army general, has ushered through a broad range of changes since coming to power last year, including welcoming Suu Kyi’s party into the political mainstream and freeing political prisoners.
“With regard to the obstacles in the way of our taking our places in the national assembly, we would like to think that these are purely technical ones,” Suu Kyi said.
“We would not like to expand them to the point that they become a political issue.”
Her National League for Democracy (NLD) party’s decision not to attend the legislature, which was seen as a sign of friction with the government, came on the same day the European Union suspended most of its sanctions against Myanmar to reward the country’s reforms.
The party has asked that the swearing-in oath be changed from “safeguard” to “respect” the constitution, under which one quarter of the seats in parliament are reserved for unelected military officials.
On Thursday Suu Kyi said she hoped her party would be able to serve the country “not just outside parliament as we have been doing the last 20 odd years but also from within the national assembly”.
Relations between Myanmar and the international community have thawed rapidly since the by-elections which gave the NLD 43 seats and were seen as a step towards democracy for the army-dominated nation.
Canada also suspended most sanctions this week and Japan waived $3.7 billion of Myanmar’s debt.
But the United States on Wednesday ruled out an immediate end to its main sanctions on Myanmar, saying it wanted to preserve leverage to push the regime on an end to ethnic violence and other key issues.