Two of the world’s most influential women met in Germany recently, and the cooperation between their two countries was at the forefront of talks
Myanmar human rights advocate and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi shakes hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on April 10 in the Chancellery in Berlin. Suu Kyi made a two-day visit to Germany, where she was awarded the International Willy Brandt Prize – an award established to honour the former German chancellor that is given to individuals or institutions who promote international understanding between peoples.
Suu Kyi said the pair would have a “sisterhood” meeting, joking that the aim was “to be politically correct, the sisterhood of men, rather than the blood brotherhood of men”.
Merkel said at the meeting that she was enthusiastic about discussing the ways in which Germany could assist in the future development of Myanmar.
“For me, Berlin is not just a symbol of success in development, but success in political negotiation, a success in achieving unity,” Suu Kyi told reporters.
German media reported that the visit was seen in Berlin as an important step towards improving relations between the two countries following Suu Kyi’s reported displeasure over Germany’s diplomatic dealings with the former ruling military junta.
Germany has, however, been active in supporting certain development projects in Myanmar. Last year, the German Federal Foreign Office donated $207,000 to DanChurchAid, which supports those affected by armed conflict, such as landmine victims. Last year, the German Chambers of Commerce and Industry also signed an agreement with its Myanmar counterpart, the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, to open its representative office in Yangon, helping the formerly closed country to attract international investment.
Aung San Suu Kyi is expected to run for the Myanmar presidency in 2015, if a provision that currently prohibits her candidacy is revoked in the meantime.
“Partying for Panglong” – Celebrating Shan National Day at the mountaintop headquarters of the Shan State Army-South
“At the mercy of the winds” – Artisans fear their skills won’t survive the onslaught of time and increasing modernity in Myanmar