News

UN Chief Praises Burma's Suu Kyi for Ending Boycott of Parliament

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, left, talks to reporters during a press conference following his meeting with Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, right, at her lakeside residence in Yangon, Myanmar, May.1, 2012.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, left, talks to reporters during a press conference following his meeting with Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, right, at her lakeside residence in Yangon, Myanmar, May.1, 2012.
Daniel Schearf

United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon met with Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi for the first time in Rangoon Tuesday. Their talks came after members of Burma’s opposition decided to make a key political compromise and join the government.

The meeting came at the end of Ban Ki-moon's three day trip to Burma.

When he last visited Burma in 2009, the country’s military government refused to allow Ban to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi, who at the time was nearing 15 years under house arrest.

"It's a great honor for me to finally have face-to-face meeting with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi," he said. "It is not the lack of my trying, but simply that it didn't happen and they didn't allow."

His visit to Burma this week coincided with a key political decision for the country’s newly elected opposition members, including Aung San Suu Kyi.

Her National League for Democracy party wants to amend the constitution and had initially refused to take an oath to safeguard the military-drafted constitution.  

Ban praised Aung San Suu Kyi for compromising.

"Politicians will sometimes continue to have differences of opinion on some issues, but a real leader demonstrates flexibility for the greater cause of the people of a country," he said. "And this is what she has done."

The stand-off had threatened to prevent the NLD members elected in April from joining parliament.

Aung San Suu Kyi told reporters the decision to take the oath did not indicate any new change of tactic.

"We have always believed in being flexible throughout the years of our struggle, because that is the only way we can achieve our goal without violence," she said. "So I do not think flexibility is going to be a new concept for us, newly acquired because we're going into the National Assembly. It has been part of the political equipment with which we have been working for the last 23-odd years."

Ban said he invited Aung San Suu Kyi to visit U.N. headquarters in New York City at a convenient time and that she reacted very positively.

The U.N. chief met Monday with President Thein Sein and was the first foreign leader to address the new parliament.

Ban praised the reform-minded president and urged a further roll back of western sanctions to support reform efforts.

He said Tuesday, despite challenges, there was no turning back on Burma’s reform process.

The European Union last week suspended all trade sanctions, except weapons exports, for a year after similar moves by Australia and Canada.

The United States has been more cautious, removing only some limits on financial services and humanitarian aid while maintaining sanctions on trade.

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.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs