Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Myanmar Says it is Making Progress

Myanmar told the United Nations today that it has launched a series of political, economic and social reforms aimed at improving the welfare of its people, but voiced regret that the Government’s efforts are being hampered by international economic sanctions.  Wunna Maung Lwin, the country’s Foreign Minister, told the General Assembly’s annual general debate that States that imposed unilateral sanctions against Myanmar should lift them now that it has “emerged as a new democratic nation in accordance with the constitution approved by the overwhelming majority of the people.”

He stated that Myanmar attached great importance to the promotion and protection of human rights, and that fundamental rights are guaranteed by the “relevant provisions of the constitution.”  As a gesture of “national reconsolidation,” the Government had last month offered an olive branch to all “national race armed groups”  Mr. Lwin said, adding that some of the groups had accepted the reconciliation offer.

He also highlighted what he said was the granting of an amnesty to 20,000 prisoners by President Thein Sein in May and that all of them had been released by the end of July.  “The President in exercising the mandate vested upon him by the constitution will further grant an amnesty at an appropriate time in the near future.”

The Government is also reaching out to the international community, Mr. Lwin said, pointing out that Myanmar had received visits by heads of State and high-level delegations from regional and international organisations over the past five months. The President also made official visits to Indonesia and China.

Meanwhile, later today Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will participate in a high-level meeting of the Group of Friends on Myanmar, at UN Headquarters in New York.

(UN Press Release)

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