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Pope Francis receives Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi

Vatican spokesman describes "great feeling of harmony and accord"

<p>Picture: Vatican Insider/La Stampa</p>

Picture: Vatican Insider/La Stampa

  • Giacomo Galeazzi for Vatican Insider/La Stampa
  • Vatican City
  • October 29, 2013
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So far and yet so close. Today Francis received The Burmese Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi in the Papal Library of the second Loggia of the Apostolic Palace. Yesterday she was made an honorary citizen of Rome on the ancient Capitoline Hill.

There was “a great feeling of harmony and accord” between the Pope’s face to face meeting with this “symbolic figure of the Asian world,” said the Holy See’s spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi.

The papal audience with the leader of Burmese democracy and human rights icon was a historic event which could have serious – though not immediate – political, religious and cultural consequences. According to the Burmese opposition leader, if changes are not made to the Constitution, the Presidential elections in Myanmar in 2015 will not be democratic, fair or representative. In 2015 Myanmar will go to the polls for parliamentary elections and the vote will renew the entire parliament which will then elect a head of State.

The country celebrated its first (partially) free elections in recent history after decades of military dictatorship, with a supplementary round in 2012 that marked the entrance of the leader of the National League for Democracy - who spent 15 of the last 22 years under house arrest by order of the junta - into Parliament. Aung San Suu Kyi announced she wants to run for the highest office in the country.

But first the Constitution needs to be amended.  It was approved by the military in 2008 with a farce vote during an emergency caused by Cyclone Nargis and still contains a provision that prevents the de facto leader from being democratically elected. That the law provides that citizens who are married or have children of foreign nationality can not be elected.

The two sons of the woman are of British nationality, as well as their father Michael Aris who died of an illness in 1999, AsiaNews reports. “Every country – not just mine – needs peace. Peace comes from the heart and to achieve it, any source of hatred and fear needs to be eradicated,” Aung San Suu Kyi said in a statement.

Full Story: Francis blesses champion of freedom Aung San Suu Kyi 

Source: Vatican Insider/La Stampa

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