No 'meaningful change' in Myanmar: Suu Kyi

BERLIN - No "meaningful change" has taken place since Myanmar's first elections in 20 years in November, recently released opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said in comments due to be broadcast this week.

"So far I haven't seen any meaningful change," Suu Kyi said in a phone-in with German broadcaster DW-TV and students at the Hertie School of Management in Berlin recorded on Tuesday.

"I know there have been elections but the government that has taken over since the elections are the same as those who were in place before the elections ... We are still waiting to see whether there has been real change."

Suu Kyi, 65, was released in November after spending most of the past 20 years under house arrest in Myanmar, also known as Burma. Her release came a few days after elections marred by accusations of cheating and intimidation.

In March the military junta made way for a nominally civilian government after almost half a century in power and Than Shwe, the general who ruled Myanmar with an iron fist for 19 years, retired as head of the military.

Last month a friend of Suu Kyi, U Myint, was appointed as an adviser to Myanmar's president.

But the army hierarchy retains a firm grip on power. Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party was disbanded for opting to boycott the election because the rules seemed designed to bar her from participating.

"Until political prisoners have been released, and until we are all allowed to take part in the political process in the country, I do not think we can call it real change," Suu Kyi told DW-TV.

She also said that Myanmar being given the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2014, as the grouping has proposed, "would not help democracy in Burma in any way".

"But if they were to attach conditions to the fact of Burma taking over in 2014, it could help. If they were for example to say that certain changes would be necessary before they were prepared to agree ... it could help," she said.