News / Asia

Burmese President Praises Aung San Suu Kyi

Burma's President Thein Sein speaks at the Asia Society in New York, September 27, 2012. Burma's President Thein Sein speaks at the Asia Society in New York, September 27, 2012.
x
Burma's President Thein Sein speaks at the Asia Society in New York, September 27, 2012.
Burma's President Thein Sein speaks at the Asia Society in New York, September 27, 2012.
VOA News
Burmese President Thein Sein has offered rare praise for the country's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, marking an apparent step forward in her complicated relationship with the former military general.

Speaking at the Asia Society in New York, Thein Sein acknowledged that the democracy leader, who spent years detained under Burma's former military rulers, had played a crucial role in the country's reform process.

"She has been working with us in undertaking several reforms. She has been a good colleague. And I am sure she will try to do what she can in order to make the reform process complete. And I believe she will continue to work with us to accomplish all the things that we need to achieve in the country," said Thein Sein.

Burma's President Thein Sein addresses the 67th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 27, 2012.Burma's President Thein Sein addresses the 67th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 27, 2012.
x
Burma's President Thein Sein addresses the 67th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 27, 2012.
Burma's President Thein Sein addresses the 67th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 27, 2012.
​Speaking earlier at the United Nations General Assembly, the president congratulated the 1991 Nobel laureate on the honors she has received "in recognition for her efforts for democracy."

It was the first time that Aung San Suu Kyi has been praised by the reformist president, who served as a former general in the military that imposed a harsh authoritarian rule over Burma for five decades.

Burma analyst Suzanne DiMaggio, who moderated the discussion with Thein Sein, told VOA it was a landmark moment for the two rival leaders, who have sometimes disagreed on how to proceed with reforms. But she says they now seems to be be finding common ground.

U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Aung San Suu Kyi at the White House in Washington, September 19, 2012.U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Aung San Suu Kyi at the White House in Washington, September 19, 2012.
x
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Aung San Suu Kyi at the White House in Washington, September 19, 2012.
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Aung San Suu Kyi at the White House in Washington, September 19, 2012.
"When we hosted Aung San Suu Kyi last week in Washington, she had a very conciliatory tone toward the president and made it clear that they both are working toward the same goal," said DiMaggio. "And he responded in kind. I think it's clear that their relationship is involving and improving and I think they recognize that their country needs both of them in order to achieve the many things that they need to do."

Aung San Suu Kyi is currently on a high-profile, multi-week tour of the United States, a trip that some fear could overshadow President Thein Sein's visit to the United Nations.

Path to democracy?

Since taking power last year, Thein Sein's government has begun releasing political prisoners, relaxing censorship and opening dialogue with the democratic opposition and armed ethnic minority groups. But some of his military colleagues have been hesitant to change.

On Thursday, Thein Sein insisted his country is on a path to democracy. But he said there are conditions that need to be met in order to solidify the reforms already made.

"First, there has to be stability and rule of law in the country. We'll have to lay down a good foundation for the economy," he said. "If we manage to do that, we will be able to establish a stable political system, a stable democracy, and I don't think there will be any reversal in the political transition."

Towards a common goal

But DiMaggio said the most important development this week is that both President Thein Sein and Aung San Suu Kyi appear to now have, to a large extent, the same goals for Burma.

"There may be some differences on how to get there and what priorities should be," she said. "But nonetheless, I think they're really in sync with each other on how to move forward and what needs to be done. So in that sense, it gives me a great deal of optimism, because if the two of them have a common agenda, it really is encouraging that a lot can be accomplished."

And many observers agree that there is still much that needs to be accomplished in Burma, including the formation of a independent judiciary and amending a constitution that effectively guarantees military control.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.+

You May Like

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbasi
X
Scott Stearns
August 21, 2014 9:20 PM
The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid