Hon Maryan Street
Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Trade
Spokesperson for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations
3 December 2010
Aung San Suu Kyi asks New Zealand for support
Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has asked for support from New Zealand to help build peaceful democratic reform in her country in the wake of her release from house arrest.
Labour’s Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Maryan Street spoke to the Nobel peace laureate for 20 minutes last night.
“It was an absolute privilege to speak to Suu Kyi. She asked how we in New Zealand might be of greatest assistance to her in achieving her long-held goal of a peaceful negotiated reconciliation in Burma,” said Maryan Street.
“She said that New Zealand’s relationships with ASEAN nations would be most important in building support in the region for peaceful democratic reform in Burma. New Zealand could usefully talk and work with Burma’s neighbours to build a consensus of view and activity which would strengthen the security of the region.
“She said that her aim was to create a new spirit of union amongst the ethnic groups in Burma and negotiate a reconciliation with the military regime.
“The New Zealand government should employ all its diplomatic expertise in the region to this end,” said Maryan Street.
“We sit as an adjunct member of ASEAN and enjoy good relations with its individual member states. It is time to use that goodwill to advance the security of the region by helping Suu Kyi achieve peaceful reform in Burma,” she said.
“This is one call the government should heed.
“Suu Kyi said that she would stay in close touch, which I am very keen to do. She also sent her love and encouragement to all Burmese in New Zealand. I know that will mean a lot to the Burmese communities where I live in Nelson, as well as those in Wellington, Palmerston North and Auckland,” said Maryan Street.