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Main driving forces behind reform are people: Myanmar president

01-21-2012 12:47 BJT

YANGON, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- The main driving forces behind all reforms today in Myanmar are actually the people of the country, official media quoted President U Thein Sein as saying Saturday.

"We are doing these reforms to fulfill the will of the people. It is important to achieve peace and stability, economic development and harmony with the internal political forces as desired by the people. That's why we met with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and achieved mutual understanding and the political situation inside the country has become more stable," Thein Sein told Ms Eizabeth Graham Weymouth, senior associate editor of the Washington Post in his first interview to a foreign media as president and was published by the New Light of Myanmar.

Thein Sein maintained that if Aung San Suu Kyi is elected as a parliament representative, the parliament will warmly welcome her.

Touching on the armed groups issue, Thein Sein said the government "has signed agreements on common agreeable points. There are many things to be done for internal peace."

On relations with the United States, Thein Sein said Myanmar expects to have friendly relations not only with the U.S. but also with all countries in the world, adding that Myanmar would like to upgrade diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level with the U. S. now.

Noting that the U.S. and EU have imposed economic sanctions against Myanmar for over 20 years, Thein Sein said "We want easing of economic sanctions. This desire is not only of the president alone but also the desire of the majority of the people."

Myanmar has dealt with all three concerns that the western countries have been asking -- release of so-called political prisoners, holding of by-elections and Aung San Suu Kyi and her party's inclusion in the political process and the government has done her part, Thein Sein said, pointing out that the rest is for the U.S. and EU to do their part.

He maintained that Myanmar has done all these, neither by anyone's recommendation nor by any coercion, as a necessity of the present situation of the country.

He denied doing these things under pressure but in accordance with the changing system, speaking out that the previous military government did not fall because of the sanctions which he said has caused poverty to the people.

Concerning the armed forces, he said the armed forces never interfere in the administration, upholding that the president's power is greater than the chief of the armed forces like the U.S..

Relating to relations with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Thein Sein said "Apart from the diplomatic relations, there are no other relationship on nuclear or weapons of mass destruction. These are all suspicions on us."

"We have no relations with North Korea (DPRK) in terms of nuclear weapons and other weapons. North Korea (DPRK) is not a country in a position to provide assistance to Myanmar. Myanmar is also not a country enough to produce the nuclear weapon, he insisted, turning down the groundless accusation and adding that further consideration will be taken on the matter of receiving the IAEA's investigation mission only when an IAEA Additional Protocol was signed.

On Myanmar's political reform, Thein Sein reiterated that "As we are already on the path of democracy, we will proceed forward and there is no reason to turn back."

Regarding the media issue, Thein Sein said "Journals have been written freely. However, while allowing freedom of press, we are taking measures to ensure that freedom with responsibility, freedom with accountability, freedom with rationalism and discipline will be applied. Responsibility and accountability also come with freedom."

He added that law will be enacted to deal with abolishment of censor upon the freedom of media.

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

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