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Burma close to ‘democratic breakthrough’: Suu Kyi

(Mizzima) – Aung San Suu Kyi told members of the Asia Society in New York that Burma is “on the verge of a breakthrough to democracy” as she accepted its Global Vision Award in a recorded video on Wednesday.

Aung San Suu Kyi speaks on Burma's Independence Day.  Photo: MizzimaThe Nobel Peace Prize winner, who spent most of the past two decades under house arrest before being freed in 2010, said overseas support by Burma’s friends was important as she accepted the award.

The text of her remarks follow:

“It was with some surprise and great pleasure that I learned that I had been presented with the Global Vision Award of the Asia Society. My contacts with the Asia Society go back many decades.

“When I was in New York, working at the United Nations secretariat, I would occasionally attend functions of the Asia Society. And there I would meet citizens of the United States who had visited or worked in Burma, and who had remained friends of Burma, attached to us by warm ties of mutual understanding and respect.

“Now that Burma is on the verge of a breakthrough to democracy — we have not yet made the breakthrough; we are on the verge of making such a breakthrough — we look to friends like you to help us along this difficult path, which might be full of difficulties, but which we shall be able to negotiate with your help, and the help of other friends like you.

“I look forward to a time when Burma will expand the borders of its democratization, and when we will be able to have frequent and meaningful exchanges with friends in other parts of the world. At such a time I'm sure that the contact between Burma and the Asia Society will become stronger and more mutually beneficial.

“I'm sorry I cannot be here together with you today, but I'm sure you will make this occasion the kind of warm and friendly evening that has always been a trademark of Asia Society meetings. And I look forward to the time when I can come to New York, come to the Asia Society, and thank you personally for what you have done to support Burma and to support our movement for democracy. And last but not least, to thank you for the Global Vision Award.
Thank you.”

Suu Kyi officially announced this week that she would run for a seat in the Burmese Parliament in a constituency near Rangoon in the April 1 by-election.

Burma’s government has embarked on a move to institute democratic reforms in the country, but many major issues still block a national reconciliation, such as the release of all political prisoners, the halt to fighting in ethnic areas and the removal of harsh censorship law that prevent freedom of speech and the press.

After one year in office, President Thein Sein, a former general, has surprised observers by launching talks with Suu Kyi and ethnic minority leaders as well as freezing work on an unpopular dam supported by China and the cancellation this week of a coal-fired power plant after strong opposition by residents and environmentalists.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 12 January 2012 12:11 )  

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