Joint press encounter by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

Yangon, Myanmar, 1 May 2012

DASSK:  I would like to introduce the Secretary-General to you.  I just want to say that it has been a great pleasure to be able to welcome him to my home. I can’t say to Burma, because this is not the first time he has been to Burma. He has been welcomed to Burma before, but this is the first time that I have been able to welcome him to my home, and it has been a great pleasure to meet him and to meet Mrs. Ban.&lt!–more–&gt

The Secretary-General has very kindly agreed to take a few questions from the press, but I understand that the time is running out. He probably has another appointment, so if we could keep the questions to two or three, after the Secretary-General has made a few opening remarks.

SG: Thank you, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Minglapa. It is a great honour for me to finally have a face-to-face meeting with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.  It is not for lack of my trying, but simply it didn’t happen and they didn’t allow [it]. Only at the third time, I am meeting her, and we had a very constructive exchange of views on all spectrums of the issues which the Myanmar Government and the Myanmar people will work together [on] with the international community, including the United Nations.

In fact, this is the first time we have been in constant contact through telephone or correspondence or through my special advisers, particularly Vijay Nambiar.

What I saw of her has been confirmed this morning. She is really a strong and dedicated leader of this country for democracy and development and human rights for all. I, like everybody in the world, fully admire her leadership and commitment, during the last two or three decades for peace and development and human rights for this country, for this region, and for the world. She has been a symbol of our hope for human rights for all, all around the world.

I congratulated her on her election as a parliamentarian, and I also commended her decision of yesterday to take the oath and become a parliamentarian. I know that it must have been a very difficult decision. Politicians sometimes will continue to have differences on some issues, but a real leader demonstrates flexibility for the greater cause of people and country. This is what she has done yesterday, and I really admire and respect her decision. I am sure that she will play a very constructive and active role as a parliamentarian for the betterment and well-being of this great country.

In the course of my meetings with President Thein Sein and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other leaders of this Government, I have always emphasized the importance of flexibility and wisdom and compromise when they discussed all different ideas and options and policies, regardless of what party one represents. The politicians and political leadership – they have to look to the people, be accountable to the people, and always work together for the prosperity and long-term interest of their people.

President Thein Sein and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi have [come] far. I am sure of that. I am convinced that they will continue to make progress, further still. This is what I expect. The Myanmar people and Government have embarked on a path of reform, democratization, and fuller participatory democracy. They deserve our support. They deserve the support of the whole international community. The United Nations will continue to stand by the people in every step and in any way we can. This is my pledge.

The process may be difficult. There are still challenges, but this process should be irreversible. There is no turning back. We will have to support their efforts for fuller participatory democracy, development and human rights. That is my pledge as Secretary-General of the United Nations – to work with her and to work with President Thein Sein and the Myanmar people for this purpose.

And finally, I have invited her to visit the United Nations at a time convenient for her, and to the United Nations, and I received a very positive answer from her, and I am looking forward to continuing our good offices role for peace and development and human rights of Myanmar.

Thank you very much.


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