(AsiaNews/Agencies) - Myanmar's reforms are "irreversible" and the country's
ethnic conflicts, including the Muslim Rohingya issue, will be resolved
according to "international norms," President Thein Sein told the 67th UN
General Assembly in an address on Thursday. The 15-minute speech, which was
carried live on Burmese TV, was his first public appearance in the United
States. In it, he talked about the economy, Aung San Suu Kyi's "crucial" role,
and the value of his nation's diversity.
From the podium
of the General Assembly, Thein Sein listed a number of reforms his government
had undertaken, including the granting of amnesties to prisoners, the convening
of credible 2012 by-elections, the abolition of media censorship and the
increased participation of the Burmese people in the country's political
process. For Burmese dissidents and critics, such changes remain insufficient because
they are only partial.
Taking his cue
from Chinese President Hu Jintao, Thein said that his government wants "establish
a harmonious society." To reach that goal, the country needs stability, the rule
of law and economic growth, aiming for a 7.7 per cent GDP growth by the end of
2015, with a focus on boosting agricultural production.
However, none of
this would have been possible without the "crucial" role of opposition leader Aung
San Suu Kyi, to whom he referred as a Nobel Prize winner.
In 1991, Suu Kyi
won in fact the Nobel Peace Prize and spent 15 of the subsequent 21 years under
house arrest by the same military government of which Thein was prime minister.
"She's been a
good colleague," the president said, speaking at the Asia Society in New York.
"I believe she will continue to work with us to complete all the things we need
to achieve in the country."
In addition to being
the first Burmese political leader to recognise Suu Kyi's role at an
international forum, President Thein also said that all inhabitants of Burma,
regardless of race, religion and gender, have the same rights.
Likewise, he announced
that that a commission would be set up with Buddhist, Muslim, Christian and
Hindu representatives to look into anti- Rohingya violence.