Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today said national reconciliation remains a defining challenge in Burma during a press availability in Nay Pyi Taw, Burma.
“More needs to be done to address the root causes of conflict and to advance an inclusive dialogue that will finally bring peace to all of the Burmese people.” -Ms. Clinton
Ms. Clinton noted that both nations are far from strangers. She said both countries had a long history together, from the earliest American missionaries to generations of traders and merchants to the shared sacrifices of World War Two.
“The United States was among the first to recognize this country’s independence, and we have welcomed the many contributions of Burmese Americans to our own culture and prosperity. And Americans from all walks of life are following closely the events here.” -Ms. Clinton
She reported that she met with President Thein Sein, his foreign minister, other senior ministers, and the speakers and members of parliament in both houses.
“We had candid, productive conversations about the steps taken so far, and the path ahead for reform.” -Ms. Clinton
She also stated that she will be meeting with ethnic minority groups and civil society. She will also meet Aung San Suu Kyi and other members of the political opposition.
“It is also encouraging that Aung San Suu Kyi is now free to take part in the political process. But that, too, will not be sufficient unless all political parties can open offices throughout the country and compete in free, fair, and credible elections.” -Ms. Clinton
She stressed the United States welcomes initial steps from the government to reduce ethnic tensions and hostilities.
“This country’s diversity, its dozens of ethnic groups and languages, its shrines, pagodas, mosques, and churches should be a source of strength in the 21st century. And I urged the president to allow international humanitarian groups, human rights monitors and journalists access to conflict zones.” -Ms. Clinton