International assistance to Myanmar should be directed towards democratic development that strengthens civil society rather than the government, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said last week.
“[Foreign governments] said they would give assistance. We don’t have any reason to refuse but how they will give assistance matters. It doesn’t need to strengthen the government but needs to strengthen the public,” the National League for Democracy leader said during a meeting with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key on Thursday, November 22.
“Because Myanmar is a country that has been under authoritarian rule, the power of the government is very strong. If this is strengthened, democratic activities won’t be free from mistakes,” she said.
Mr Key said New Zealand had been a long-time supporter of Myanmar’s democracy movement and would continue to offer assistance to smooth the country’s path towards democracy.
“For many years Aung San Suu Kyi led efforts to bring democratic reform to Myanmar, and she has made great personal sacrifices on behalf of the country’s people,” Mr Key said, according to a New Zealand government statement.
“Her ability to travel to Oslo in June to receive in person the Nobel Peace Prize was both a tremendous personal tribute to her, and reflected how far Myanmar has come since she was released from house arrest.
“I was pleased to reaffirm to Aung San Suu Kyi New Zealand’s support as Myanmar continues to promote the democratic and economic reforms she has dedicated so much of her life to achieving.”
Translated by Thit Lwin