NAYPYITAW, Myanmar – Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion has met with Myanmar’s high-profile new foreign minister Aung San Suu Kyi today as dignitaries stream into the country to meet the Nobel laureate.
Dion congratulated Myanmar on installing its first civilian government in decades and on its transition from military rule to democracy.
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“It’s always difficult to build a strong democracy,” Dion said at a joint news conference at Myanmar’s Presidential Palace in the capital, Naypyitaw. “Myanmar needs to succeed. It’s important for your country and it’s important for the world.”
Suu Kyi also hosted the foreign ministers of China and Italy earlier this week.
In November, the country held its first free election in decades, which Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won by a landslide.
Suu Kyi, the country’s most popular politician, is barred by a junta-era constitution from becoming president because her sons are British citizens, as was her late husband.
She picked her close ally, Htin Kyaw, to become Myanmar’s president and lead the government that took office last week.
In its first legislative act, the parliament created a new post for Suu Kyi as “state counsellor” on Tuesday, giving her powers similar to those of a prime minister. The move allows Suu Kyi to have a powerful hand in running Myanmar and helps her circumvent the constitution’s ban.
In addition to foreign minister, Suu Kyi also heads the president’s office.
This week’s meetings have put Suu Kyi in the spotlight, with President Htin Kyaw playing a supporting role.