Press Statement on Deputy Secretary Burns Visit to Naypyidaw, Burma

On October 18, Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns visited Naypyitaw for meetings with senior government officials and parliamentarians. Deputy Secretary Burns held excellent, productive discussions with President Thein Sein; Lower House Speaker Thura Shwe Mann; Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin; Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Wai Lwin; Aung San Suu Kyi, and ethnic minority parliamentarians. Both sides discussed their shared interests and growing partnership in advancing the political and economic reforms that have already begun. The United States and Burma have passed a watershed in our bilateral relationship, following the visits to the United States of Aung San Suu Kyi and President Thein Sein last month. The Deputy Secretary’s visit is a reflection of the significant changes that have taken place since President Thein Sein took office in 2011 and Secretary Clinton made her historic visit one year ago. The United States supports the reforms undertaken since President Thein Sein took office, as part of our “action-for-action” policy. The United States is committed to helping the Burmese people succeed in this historic transition. We are greatly encouraged and impressed by the progress made to date, but are reminded that much work remains to be done to realize a prosperous and fully democratic future for this country. We hope to see progress on rule-of-law; human rights; transparency in investment, particularly in the extractive industries; and true national reconciliation. We welcome the release of political prisoners and note the importance of releasing remaining political prisoners, establishing a transparent process to review cases in question, and ending conditions on those already released. In his meetings, the Deputy Secretary noted the importance of the first bilateral dialogue on human rights held October 16-17.

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