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

Photogallery Kyiv: Russian Forces Tightening Grip on East

And new United Nations report documents human rights abuses committed by both sides in conflict More

Locust Swarms Fill Antananarivo Skies

FAO-led control efforts halted plague More

South Africa’s Plan to Move Rhinos May Not Stop Poaching

Experts say international coordination needed to follow the money trail and bring down rhino horn kingpins 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.
Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Weeki
X
August 29, 2014 2:18 AM
The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid