News / Asia

Transcript of VOA Burmese Service's Interview with Madeleine Albright

Albright Applauds Burma Reformsi
X
June 04, 2013 6:18 PM
Burmese Service Correspondent Kyaw Kyaw Thein interviewed former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright Tuesday in Rangoon. She was in Burma for the first time since 1995, and gave a speech at Rangoon University.
Albright Applauds Burma Reforms
Kyaw Kyaw Thein
Burmese Service Correspondent Kyaw Kyaw Thein interviewed former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright June 4 in Rangoon. She was in Burma for the first time since 1995, and gave a speech at Rangoon University. Below is a transcript of the speech. Please note: Inaudible words from interviewer are in italics.

VOA:  “Thank you very much Madame Secretary for giving me the chance to interview you. First of all, what is it like to be for you back to (in) the country after 18 years?”

ALBRIGHT: “Well, it is a wonderful treat, I have to say. I have followed events in Burma all this time and watched the hard parts, the difficult parts and now with great surprise and pleasure, I think, some of the changes that are taking place. So I was very glad to come back. Also, to have the opportunity to talk with such a wide variety of people. On my first visit here, I met with the government officials and then with Aung San Suu Kyi, and this time, I have met with government officials and Aung San Suu Kyi, but also had the opportunity to meet with people from civil society, women’s groups, representatives of those, representatives of  ethnic political parties, religious representatives, and so it gave me a much better picture of various things that are going on in the country so it’s been a very good trip.”

VOA: “As you’ve said, you’ve met people from various segments of the country, including government and Aung San Suu Kyi. The most (main) question everyone wants to know and everyone is asking is whether the country is still in the position of turning back from the democratic reform. What’s your observation on that?”

ALBRIGHT: “I think that they are very much on the right road. My own sense is that it can not be reversed, but one never really knows because there’s always a dynamic in events. But I’m hopeful and the sense that I got from all the various groups that I talked to was while they see problems, they also are trying to figure out solutions and trying to find ways that they can learn from their own mistakes, but also examples from other countries so I think they are on the right track. They need the support of the international community. They need to have a variety of different help, whether it is in training and education; some obviously in the importance of investment and economic assistance. They have a very, very large gap between the rich and the poor, and people have expectations, and so they have to figure out and meet those expectations."

VOA: “What should the U.S. do more to make sure it (Burma) does not turn back?”

ALBRIGHT: "It isn’t just the U.S. I think that the U.S. has in fact eased the sanctions regimes, that we have exchanged ambassadors. President Obama has been here. President Thein Sein was in the United States, and I think we are showing all kinds of support.  I think we are looking at United States…USAID is here. Also, our nongovernmental organizations. I’m chairman of the board of the National Democratic Institute, and we have programs here now in terms of training parliamentarians, working with various groups in civil society, helping political party training, and we’re going to host a number of people from Burma in the United States, an exchange program so I think we’re going to be doing quite a lot.”       

VOA: "Do you notice for instance any change in the country you did not expect before? You didn’t hope before?"

ALBRIGHT: “I think that it’s hard for…For me, what I found interesting is that some of the people that…there’s a willingness to work together that I hadn’t seen before, frankly, but that’s not totally fair for me to say that since I hadn’t met with such a wide variety of people. I think there is also a recognition that things were wrong, that something different had to be done and that you couldn’t suppress people in the way that it happened in the previous 18 years ago and that Burma can flourish if, in fact, it recognizes its diversity and builds on that.”

VOA: “You are the highest ranking U.S. official ever to visit North Korea, and, as you know, Burma has military relationships with North Korea. How much should we be concerned that Burma may be maintaining secretly the military relations with North Korea?”

ALBRIGHT: “I do not know about that, but I do think that we have to make sure that the North Koreans are not a threat. President Obama has said that. We want to see a denuclearized Korean peninsula, and we also…there have been international steps in terms of sanctions against North Korea, and I think that if Burma wants to be a country in good standing internationally, then it’s important to abide by whatever international regulations or rules that have been made.”

VOA: “My very last question, you are the very first secretary of state, female secretary of state in the United States of America. There are now female…in Burma, there are female representatives and next-generation female leaders, I’m very much interested to know your suggestions and advice to those next-generation leaders especially for those women.”

ALBRIGHT: "Well I had a very interesting meeting with women representatives and women’s groups. I think that there has to be greater involvement of women politically and economically if Burma is going to really flourish. And I say that not just because I’m a woman and a feminist, but because we know that when half of the population is female, and you don’t use the talents, then you’re wasting a resource, and so I think that women have to be in political life, women have to own businesses, help in economic life and men need to understand that it’s better for the country, but opportunities have to be made, and women have to take advantage of them. So I was very glad to meet with the women’s groups.”

VOA: "Thank you very much Madame Secretary. I’m very much honored to be with you."

ALBRIGHT: "Thank you."

You May Like

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More