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    » 09/28/2012, 00.00

    MYANMAR - UNITED NATIONS

    United Nations: Thein Sein to build a "harmonious society" with Aung San Suu Kyi



    President acknowledges "crucial" role played by opposition leader, and reiterates the value of "diversity" as part of the country's rich heritage. Stability, the rule of law and economic growth are his main goals. GDP should reach 7.7 per cent by 2015. An independent, multi-faith commission should investigate anti-Rohingya violence.

    New York (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.

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    See also

    31/03/2011 MYANMAR
    The new government, a “puppet” in the hands of the military, says Burmese trade union leader
    U Maung Maung stresses the absence of “new faces” in parliament, where most are military or former military. The new president plays “the role assigned to him,” but will not share power. Trade union leader urges the international community not to recognise the government. For him, the dictatorship is weakening, “a few more shoves in the right places will lead to its collapse.”

    29/08/2012 MYANMAR
    Thein Sein pardons three humanitarian workers involved in violence in Rakhine State
    Announcement is posted on the Burmese president's website. Two brothers, both UN workers, and an NGO volunteer were given two to six years in jail. No reason was given for the pardon. DVB editor says Thein Sein is consolidating his power, which could lead to clash with or reform of parliament.

    28/08/2012 MYANMAR
    Thein Sein's cabinet shuffle just a "smokescreen"
    The Burmese president removes members of the old guard to promote more reform-minded people. However, Burma expert says the changes have not altered the underlying power structure. "Unsolved problems" persist as the old elites benefit from new opportunities.

    05/07/2011 MYANMAR
    Aung San Suu Kyi’s first trip outside Rangoon since her release, threats from the junta
    She has arrived in the ancient city of Bagan, where she was met by her son, journalists and plain clothes police. She will remain there four days. The government has warned the Nobel Peace Prize Winner not to carry out political propaganda, "for security reasons." Her last trip to Bagan was in 1989.

    25/09/2008 MYANMAR
    False Amnesty: Burmese activist arrested 24 hours after release
    U Win Htein, member of the National League for Democracy, freed September 23rd and re-arrested yesterday. He was first arrested in 1989 and condemned to 14 years prison in 1996. Confirmation that the release of 9002 prisoners was only “for show”.



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