* Published: 20/11/2010 at 01:44 AM
* Online news:
WASHINGTON: Democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi has called US engagement with Burma a good thing, but urged US officials not to go into talks with the junta wearing "rose-coloured glasses."
"There are a lot of people who say that now that the US has decided to engage with the military regime, they have turned their back on us," Suu Kyi told CNN after being freed from years of house arrest.
"I don't think of it like that. I think engagement is a good thing," she said in the comments broadcast by the American television channel on Friday.
But she cautioned: "I don't want them to go into engagement wearing rose coloured glasses. I would want them to be practical about it."
The administration of US President Barack Obama last year initiated a dialogue with Burma after concluding that the longstanding US policy of isolating the military regime had not borne fruit.
Suu Kyi stressed Washington should be "keeping your eyes open and alert and seeing what is really going on, and where engagement is leading to and what changes really need to be brought about."
Kurt Campbell, the assistant secretary of state for East Asian affairs, has been leading the dialogue, but said in September that he had been disappointed with the results so far.
Washington praised Suu Kyi's release from house arrest last Saturday, with Obama describing his fellow Nobel Peace laureate as "a hero of mine."
But the US administration also renewed its calls for Burmese authorities to release all of the country's estimated 2,100 political prisoners.
A day after her release, Suu Kyi, who had been locked up by the Burmese regime for 15 of the past 21 years, gave her first political speech in seven years, appealing to thousands of her jubilant supporters for unity.
She was released from house arrest less than a week after a controversial election that cemented the junta's decades-long grip on power but was widely criticised by democracy activists and Western leaders as a sham.
Asked by CNN whether she feared being arrested again, Suu Kyi said: "So many people ask me this question and the only thing I can say is I don't know. It's always a possibility. After all they have arrested me several times in the past.
"There's nothing to say that they won't arrest me again," she added. "But you can't keep thinking about that, you just have to keep on with your work."
CNN said it had not been officially given permission to visit Burma during the elections, but its reporter had spent 16 days in the military-run country in what they called a kind of "covert operation."
The images of the brief conversation with Suu Kyi were released on Friday when CNN's correspondent was back in Thailand.
As the daughter of the nation's assassinated independence hero Aung San, the soft-spoken 65-year-old carries a weight of expectation among her followers for a better future after almost half a century of military dictatorship.
The mother of two is also hoping that her youngest son Kim Aris, who lives in Britain, will be able travel to Rangoon.
Aris arrived in the Thai capital ahead of his mother's release but it remains unclear whether he has received a visa to enter Burma.
Suu Kyi's struggle has come at a high personal cost: her British husband died in 1999 and, in the final stages of his battle with cancer, the junta refused him a visa to see his wife. She has never met her grandchildren.