Hilary Clinton lauds Burma's initiative toward democracy and national reconciliation
The United States Secretary of State Hilary Clinton in a congratulatory message to Burma lauded the Burmese (or Myanmar) government and Aung San Suu Kyi-led National League of Democracy movement for undertaking a historic step toward democracy and national reconciliation.
Following is the full text of the message:
Only eighteen months ago, Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi was under house arrest. Today, the pro-democracy leader and several other members of the National League for Democracy have taken their newly won seats in Burma’s parliament. For the first time in the country’s history, Aung San Suu Kyi and members of her party will have a role and voice in government.
I would like to send my congratulations to these pro-democracy leaders, other newly elected Members of Parliament, and the hundreds of thousands of voters for their courage and commitment to achieving a more representative and responsive government. President Thein Sein and his government have also taken important strides toward democracy and national reconciliation.
This is an important moment for Burma's future. A genuine transition toward multi-party democracy leading to general elections in 2015 will help build a more prosperous society. I encourage all political parties, civil society representatives and ethnic minority leaders to work together to address challenges and seize new opportunities for a more democratic, free, peaceful, and prosperous future.
(End Text) Clinton and Aung San Suu Kyi – the Nobel laureate who has come to symbolize the pro-democracy aspirations of Burma's people – held a private dinner on December 01 last year and met again the following day at her lakeside home, effectively her prison until she was released in November 2010 after years in detention.
"If we go forward together I'm confident there will be no turning back from the road to democracy. We are not on that road yet, but we hope to get there as soon as possible with our friends," Aung San Suu Kyi said.
Clinton has repeatedly praised Burma's new military-backed civilian government for moving ahead with reforms following elections last November that ended five decades of unbroken military rule.
The government has taken steps to broaden political participation, release some political prisoners and gradually expand freedoms of expression and assembly.
For Washington, improved ties with Burma could underscore Obama's determination to deepen US engagement in Asia and balance China's fast-growing economic, military and political influence.
- Asian Tribune –