YANGON - Myanmar's detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has requested a meeting with Western diplomats to discuss sanctions imposed on the country, her party said on Monday.
In a statement issued by her National League for Democracy (NLD), the Nobel laureate said she wanted to meet with ambassadors and heads of missions from the United States, Australia and European Union member countries.
In order to work effectively for having the sanctions on Myanmar lifted, I need to understand the sanctions imposed on Myanmar, how much the country has suffered ... and the attitudes of the countries that imposed these sanctions, she said.
The request comes after Suu Kyi, 64, gave her support to U.S. plans to engage with the isolated nation and offered to help the country's military junta seek an end to wide-ranging sanctions that have impacted the lives of Myanmar's people.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced last week that Washington wanted dialogue with the ruling generals, but would not lift its tight sanctions, despite conceding the restrictions had been largely ineffective.
Analysts said the move was a step forward for both countries but expressed doubts whether dialogue could result in any significant concessions by either side.
Suu Kyi, the charismatic daughter of Myanmar independence icon Aung San, signed a letter on Friday to junta supremo Than Shwe, asking to be allowed to work with the regime to lift the sanctions. Than Shwe is yet to respond.
The United States has imposed sanctions on Myanmar since 1988, when an estimated 3,000 people were killed when the army violently crushed pro-democracy demonstrations.
The EU has had its sanctions in place since 1996, further tightened in 2007 after a harsh crackdown on monk-led protests. Australia has maintained visa restrictions on the regime and a ban on defence exports.
Clinton said in July that the United States would help Myanmar if the regime ensured next year's long-awaited elections were free, fair and inclusive, and Suu Kyi, who has been in some form of detention for 14 of the past 20 years, was freed.
Just weeks before her latest stint of house arrest was due to expire, a Myanmar court sentenced her to 18 months longer in detention for a security breach, a ruling condemned by the West and dismissed by critics as a ploy to minimise her influence ahead of the polls.
(Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by Jerry Norton)