NZ move disappoints Burma opposition leader

Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi with US President Barack Obama at her home in Yangon. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi with US President Barack Obama at her home in Yangon. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
Aung San Suu Kyi has expressed disappointment that governments including New Zealand are calling her country Myanmar - a name chosen by its military rulers - rather than Burma.

"I shall always refer to this country as Burma, until the Burmese people decide what they want it to be called," the opposition leader said after meeting New Zealand Prime Minister John Key in the capital Naypyidaw on Thursday.

The Australian and New Zealand governments have recently officially recognised the name Myanmar as the country continues democratic reforms after decades of iron-fisted military rule.

But Ms Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate who spent about 15 years under house arrest in her struggle for democracy, says Myanmar's transition is far from complete.

"The outside world has been very supportive and I think now they need to be a little bit more careful about how they support us," Ms Suu Kyi said.

"What we want is people-centred aid, rather than government-centred help."

She also said Myanmar must change its constitution, which currently bans her from taking the presidency in elections planned for 2015.

Mr Key's visit came just days after US President Barack Obama visited the country.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard met President Thein Sein on the sidelines of the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Laos this month in the first such meeting between Australian and Myanmarese leaders since 1984.

 

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