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Aung San Suu Kyi and May discuss trade and 'touch on' Burma's minorities

Published 13/09/2016

Prime Minister Theresa May welcomes Burma's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi to Downing Street
Prime Minister Theresa May welcomes Burma's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi to Downing Street

Burma's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Theresa May agreed that Britain must remain an outward-facing country in the aftermath of Brexit during a Downing Street meeting.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate had earlier remarked that the Prime Minister must be "extremely busy" in the wake of the vote to leave the European Union, to which Mrs May said there was "certainly a lot to do".

The pair then held a "very friendly" meeting at No 10 in which Brexit was "briefly discussed" alongside Burma's importance to the UK as a trading nation , Downing Street said.

A spokesman added: "Obviously both countries agree on the importance of the UK remaining an outward-facing, engaged country.

"With Burma having one of the fastest growing economies, its importance to us as a trading nation is clear."

The human rights abuses perpetrated by the Burmese military, such as the oppression of the country's Rohingya Muslims, were also "touched on" during the bilateral talks, the spokesman said.

Ms Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy party swept to victory in 2015 elections, endured years of house arrest and harassment by military rulers while continuing her non-violent campaign to unseat them and usher in the first civilian government in more than five decades.

She holds the country's specially-created post of state counsellor - her two sons' British citizenship prohibiting her from becoming president because of the country's military-era constitution.

The Downing Street spokesman said: "It was a very friendly meeting.

"It was her (Ms Suu Kyi's) first visit outside of Asia since the election victory last November.

"The PM congratulated her on the progress that has been made so far on the political transition after the military dictatorship and in return the Prime Minister was thanked for the support and friendship that Britain has shown, continues to show to Burma."

Ms Suu Kyi had on Monday met Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who welcomed the establishment of the Rakhine Commission, led by Kofi Annan, to tackle the situation facing the Rohingya community.

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