President Sein: I would like to welcome you to our capital and I know The Washington Post is a renowned newspaper in America. This is the first time to meet with the foreign media. This is our foreign minister, our minister of information and our minister of labor.
Q: The West has been watching the changes you have brought about in your country — the freeing of political prisoners, enabling Aung San Suu Kyi’s party to run in the upcoming April election and the cease-fires you’ve declared with some of the ethnic groups. You have made extraordinary changes in a short time. What motivated you to want to change your country and to start this reform process?
A: With regard to the reform process we are undertaking in our country, there is a lot of encouragement from our people. The reform measures are being undertaken based on the wishes of the people [who want] to see our country have peace and stability as well as economic development. To have internal peace and stability and economic development, it is important to have good relations with the political parties that we have in our country. That is why we have had engagement with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
In my meeting with Daw Aung Sang Suu Kyi, we were able to reach an understanding between the two of us.
People would like to see peace and stability and that is why we have had engagement with the ethnic armed groups. That’s why our reform process is based on the wishes and the will of the people.
The people could not had this reform process without your leading it. You decided to release the political prisoners, you met Aung San Suu Kyi.
. . . What is next? Will you continue with this pace of reforms?
With regards to our future perspectives, we’d like to see transparency. I hope that we can and will be able to maintain friendly relations with countries of the world.
Can you share with us what is next in the reform process? What your vision is?
I believe that you need to know our aims, and they are to have peace and stability and economic development in our country. For the future, we need to continue to take necessary actions to achieve these goals.
You have normalized relations with the U.S., you have released political prisoners and achieved cease-fires with some of the ethnic groups. Do you have a definite next step?
The parliament also made amendments to the election commission law so that Aung San Suu Kyi can contest the upcoming by election [April 1]. Now, The National League for Democracy — her party, the NLD — has registered as a political party, and Aung San Suu Kyi will be contesting the upcoming by-election. If the people vote for her, she will be elected and become a member of parliament. I am sure that the parliament will warmly welcome her. This is our plan.