Suu Kyi, her party to attend parliament Wednesday
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) -- Aung San Suu Kyi said she and other lawmakers in her opposition party will attend Myanmar's parliament on Wednesday for the first time and will take the oath of office though they still fiercely dispute its wording.
Suu Kyi said she was not backing down on the issue, however, and that her party would continue to seek constitutional change through legislative actions. The oath is part of the constitution, and her party also seeks to change other statutes it considers undemocratic.
"Politics is an issue of give and take," she told reporters in the main city, Yangon, on Monday. "We are not giving up, we are just yielding to the aspirations of the people."
Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy object to phrasing in the oath that obligates them to "safeguard the constitution," which was drafted under military rule and ensures the army inordinate power.
The party wants "safeguard" replaced with "respect," a change made in other laws including electoral legislation that enabled Suu Kyi's party to officially enter politics for the first time in decades.
But their failure to take up their seats had irked some of Suu Kyi's backers, who are eager to see the person who has stood up to Myanmar's military for 23 years finally take her place in the legislature.
Suu Kyi said she had not realized the oath had the same unacceptable wording as the election law, and that she would take responsibility for her "deficiency" and not impede the desire of those who sought to have her party members take their parliamentary seats.
The apparent resolution of the deadlock came as U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was visiting Myanmar to encourage democratization and reform.
In an address to the parliament on Monday, he called for the international community to lift sanctions it imposed on Myanmar in response to the previous military junta's repression and to increase aid for the country's development.
His visit is the latest in a series by foreign dignitaries since President Thein Sein's reform campaign gathered steam by winning Suu Kyi's endorsement.
Thein Sein came to power a year ago after a general election that left the military in firm control but signaled a desire for political reconciliation.
The NLD participated in elections on April 1 for the first time since 1990, when it won a landslide victory that was promptly annulled by the army.
Suu Kyi said ethnic lawmakers in parliament had appealed to her party to resolve the issue from within the assembly, which is overwhelmingly dominated by the pro-military ruling party and military appointees.
"We are fulfilling the wishes of the people, because the people want the NLD to enter parliament," Suu Kyi said.
Ban addressed parliament on the second day of a visit to see how the U.N. can help promote the country's steps toward democratic reform.
"The best way for the international community to support reform is to invest in it," he said, urging an easing of sanctions and increased aid.
Ban met President Thein Sein earlier Monday in the capital, Naypyitaw. He also is to visit a U.N. drug control project in eastern Shan state.