Sunday, 18 November 2012

What Mr President Obama will do and talk about in Burma?


Obama will have a bilateral meeting with President Thein Sein of Burma on Monday. That will be held in the Parliament Building in Rangoon. Following his visit with President Thein Sein, the President will travel to Aung San Suu Kyi’s residence in Burma. The President will then travel to our embassy where he’ll be able to meet with embassy staff. Following that, the President will deliver a speech.

h about the future of Burma and the future of the relationship between the United States and Burma. That speech will be held at the University of Rangoon, which is a very historic — has played a key role in the history of the country, first in supporting the independence movement in the 1930s, then being one of the leading universities in Asia; being a center of the democracy movement in the 1980s.
 So we see it as a very fitting venue for the President to address the people of Burma and to discuss the broad range of areas where we want to work together to support continued reforms across many different areas. That would include continued political reform towards democracy. That would include continued national reconciliation, including with various ethnic groups who have been in conflict with the government. That includes support for economic development for the Burmese people. And that also includes the way in which Burma is a critical part of our vision for the future of Southeast Asia and America’s relationship with this very important region of the world.
We also anticipate that the President will have an opportunity on the margins of that speech to meet with a variety of members of Burmese civil society, to hear directly from them as well.

Following the speech, the President will depart Burma en route to Cambodia.
And then there are a range of other issues, of course: corruption; proliferation; trafficking; the freedom of NGOs that these groups get up and running now; media — the censorship law has been lifted, but it’s — the new regulations are honored in some cases, in some areas, very much in the breach; freedom of association — very hard for groups to get permits to actually have political protests. These are the kinds of issues that by virtue of a trip of this magnitude, we get a chance to really drive home the core messages about the next steps that need to be taken on the path to reform and the opportunities that exist by virtue of the space that’s opened up.

The last point I’d make just about Burma is that beyond the engagement on these specific issues, the trip I think is also — will also hopefully have the effect of reaching an audience broader than the government and broader than the elite. And so far — and we talk a lot about this internally here — this has been a very unusual political journey, political transition in the sense that it’s very top down in terms of how the reforms are being dispensed; in many cases, edicts issued where political prisoners are free, or laws are changed, or announcements are made summarily, and often, again, very important and constructive announcements.

But as the political space opens up, one of President Obama’s key messages, of course, is that there is a need not simply for government officials to talk to one another and the executive branch to talk to the Parliament, but for the youths, for legal professionals, for businesspeople, for soldiers in the rank and file of the military, for teachers, for the citizens of Burma to take ownership of this process now as it enters its next phase, and to build the checks and balances that are really the requirement in this country for these reforms to be sustainable and for this to become a true democracy over time.
As it relates to the Rohingya, what we’ve seen is the continued violence, as Samantha mentioned. And the government has sought to step in and help save lives in the situation in some instances. But clearly, more needs to be done to foster an environment where tensions are reduced, where there’s not incitement, and where those communities are able to address their differences peacefully rather than in the outbreaks of violence that we’ve seen.
So I think the President will be addressing the broad context of ethnic reconciliation and national reconciliation within Burma. Specifically, I think what we’d like to see is continued work to stabilize the situation, but also to bring down the temperature and reduce the tensions. But I don’t know if you guys have anything to add to that.
he importance of independent humanitarian access to the area so that there’s independent reporting on what is actually happening again in this very, very tense environment right now, and that humanitarian assistance can be provided. And that’s a major issue that remains outstanding.

Second, the safety and security of individuals — because before there can be any talks of the future of coexistence, the mob attacks and the violence and the provocations have to stop. And that’s where, as Ben said, the fact that the government has sent in kind of national troops into an area where local forces were involved in many of the abuses is an important step, but that we need to — there has to be a sustainable security solution so that people aren’t living in the kind of fear and really terror that they’re living with today.

Thirdly, the government has come out and said it wants to hold the perpetrators accountable, which is important. And that’s something they’re going to have to follow through on. It will be very challenging, given again the degree of community support for some of what went on. But that’s something that we will reaffirm their commitment in that space, because that’s critical.
And then, the ultimate — ultimately, the legal status of the Rohingya of course in this country as well as in the region needs to be resolved. And so that is something that we will engage them on I’m sure certainly privately and in some form publicly.
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                           November 15, 2012
Via Telephone

No comments:

Post a Comment

thank you..moderator will approve soon..your email will not be published..