Canada Welcomes Progress, Encourages Continued Reforms in Burma

March 8, 2012 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today made the following statement after his meetings in Burma, with Burma’s President Thein Sein and General Secretary of the National League for Democracy Aung San Suu Kyi:

“There is palpable optimism in the streets of Rangoon. I commend President Thein Sein and his government for their commitments to reform.

“Meeting Aung San Suu Kyi, one of Burma’s great champions of change, was quite a moving experience—a definite honour for me personally.

“I thank Aung San Suu Kyi for her hospitality and salute the incredible strength and courage that she has summoned to face adversity and to be an advocate on behalf of the Burmese people.

“Her dedication to freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law is truly inspiring. I am proud to count her as an honorary Canadian.

“On this International Women’s Day, it also strikes me that there is no stronger female role model for girls around the globe than this woman who has devoted her life to furthering the cause of democracy in the interests of the well-being of her fellow citizens.

“Burma has taken several very positive first steps toward democratic development and change; we hope that the progress made to date will continue and lead to further reforms. We will be watching, in particular, the by-elections on April 1. But the true test will be in the weeks and months that follow.

“Canada has been a strong opponent of repression in Burma. Change must be sustained so that the will of the Burmese people can turn their hopes of a better, brighter future into reality for all.”

Minister Baird’s visit to Burma is the first by a Canadian foreign minister.

For more information, please consult Canada’s Policy on Burma.

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