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Suu Kyi bears regime 'no grudges'

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Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and French president Francois Hollande leave the Elysee Palace in Paris (AP)

Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and French president Francois Hollande leave the Elysee Palace in Paris (AP)

Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and French president Francois Hollande leave the Elysee Palace in Paris (AP)

Burma opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has said that she holds no grudges against the military regime that kept her under house arrest for some 15 years and considers them people to work with toward reform.

Her focus is on practical matters, Ms Suu Kyi said at a news conference, not "abstract ideas of justice".

Ms Suu Kyi met with the press after a meeting with President Francois Hollande on the first day of her four-day visit to France to end a European tour that has taken her to Switzerland, Norway, Ireland and Britain. She and the French president had dinner on Tuesday night.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner has been a world symbol of courage and hope for facing down Burma's military regime, which ruled for 49 years until last year.

She is now helping the country usher in what many hope is a transition to democracy. And pragmatism seems to be her watchword.

"I certainly do not bear any grudges against the military regime," she said. "I never think of them as those people who placed me under house arrest for so many years. This is not the way we bring about national reconciliation.

"I think of them as people with whom I would like to work in order to bring reform to our country," she added.

Mr Hollande, at her side, said that France intends to support all those involved in the democratic transition, and "not consider it a tranquil process", so that Burma achieves a "full and complete democracy".

He cautioned that France will keep a vigilant eye on financial transactions and industrial projects that a more open Burma will likely attract. It was unclear whether he was making reference to the French oil giant Total which has been present in Burma for decades under military rule there, and became the object of criticism.

Ms Suu Kyi said she wants "democracy-friendly, human rights-friendly" investments that protect the environment of her country.

PA