Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is preparing to sit down with the military rulers who kept her incarcerated for most of the past two decades.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner said she wants to “remove the sources of disagreement” with the generals and sit down with them across the table, adding: “There are so many things that we have to talk about.”
More than 5,000 supporters gathered to listen to her speak upon her release on Sunday, and she spent the rest of the day thanking her supporters across the world and called for peaceful dialogue with the country’s military junta.
Ms Suu Kyi said she considers herself a “worker for democracy”, a description she said of how she sees her future role.
In a interview with the BBC, the veteran campaigner said no conditions had been placed on her release from house arrest but she recognises the possibility she could again be arrested.
She has been detained for 15 of the last 21 years, but said she had been “better off” under house arrest than the thousands of pro-democracy campaigners who have been imprisoned by the isolated regime.
Ms Suu Kyi said: “I just think of myself as one of the workers for democracy, well better known perhaps than the others here in Burma, but one of those working for democracy, that is my role, it has always been my role and I think it will continue to be my role.”
Her freedom came a week after the country’s first elections in 20 years, which handed victory to the pro-military party but were condemned as a sham by critics.
Her National League for Democracy (NLD) won the election in 1990 but was never allowed to take power and it boycotted the recent vote – a poll Ms Suu Kyi said led to “many, many questions” about its fairness.
Asked what she meant by calling for reconciliation with the regime, Ms Suu Kyi said: “I think we have to sort out our differences across the table, talking to each other, agreeing to disagree or finding out why we disagree and trying to remove the sources of our disagreement if we possibly can.”