Hopeful Myanmar junta sends congratulations to Obama

Other News Materials 8 November 2008 10:25 (UTC +04:00)

Joining a world hopeful for change, Myanmar's military junta has sent congratulation notes to president-elect Barack Obama and vice president-elect Joseph Biden, news reports said Saturday.

State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) Senior General Than Shwe sent a message of congratulations to Obama on Friday while the junta's number two, Vice-Senior General Maung Aye, sent a similar message to Biden, The New Light of Myanmar reported.

Myanmar's junta, deemed a pariah regime by most Western democracies and a target of increased economic sanctions by the administration of US President George W Bush - not to mention the shrill criticism from his wife Laura - is hoping a new government will change their approach in dealing with Myanmar, analysts said.

Anti-junta commentators, however, doubt that the Obama administration will change the US stance on Myanmar significantly, as the senator has supported past bills increasing sanctions against the regime and its military hierarchy.

Myanmar has one of the world's worst human rights records and is a target for near universal criticism for its refusal to free opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest for the past five-plus years, reported dpa.

Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has spent about 13 of the past 19 years under house arrest. She leads the National League for Democracy (NLD) party which won the 1990 election by a landslide but has been denied power by the military establishment, which has ruled the country since 1962.