South African Government on the Release of Aung San Suu Kyi   

Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Ebrahim Ebrahim, on behalf of the South African Government, acknowledges the dignity and fortitude with which Ms Aung San Suu Kyi bore her fifteen-year long house arrest at the hands of the Military Government of Myanmar. Her indomitable spirit is undiminished, and she remains an inspiration to millions of people in Myanmar and around the world. The fact that she bears her captors no ill-will is a remarkable testament to her character and leadership.  She is no ordinary woman. Despite her exclusion from the elections in Myanmar, she remains an important part of the solution to Myanmar’s political future and eventual reintegration into the international community. Ms Suu Kyi continues to re-iterate that she does not support violent opposition and prefers a process of peaceful negotiations.

In a television interview in April 2010 with the Democratic Voice of Burma, Deputy Minister Ebrahim pointed out that, “for negotiations to succeed, conditions for dialogue must first be created.” He explained that “in South Africa’s case, the unbanning of all parties, the release of political prisoners and the return of exiles created those conditions.” 

Myanmar too, with its new dynamics and inclusion of some new players, could contribute to conditions favourable for peaceful negotiations.

The Government and people of South Africa once again appeal to the Government of Myanmar to create the conditions for true dialogue leading to an all-inclusive government acceptable to the majority. Whilst recognising that the opposition is not united, South Africa urges that the many disparate elements be brought into the process in order to make it succeed.

During his interview with the Democratic Voice of Burma, the Deputy Minister emphasised that “in South Africa, the ANC had opted for reconciliation rather than revenge”. He added that “this decision was crucial to South Africa’s transition to an all-inclusive democracy”. 

South Africa remains ready to share its own experiences of reconciliation and transition to democracy with the people of Myanmar. As in the case of South Africa, the people of Myanmar must conduct their own negotiations and find solutions acceptable to the majority of its people. 
Deputy Minister Ebrahim admits that the “road to democracy is long and sometimes difficult, but it is achievable if the people remain committed towards achieving lasting peace with each other and with the global community”.

The Government and people of South Africa wish the people of Myanmar well and assure them of our support. 

Mr Ebrahim Ebrahim, MP

Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation
19 November 2010  

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