Nay Pyi Taw, 1 Oct— The following is the full text of the monthly radio message delivered by President U Thein Sein.
My fellow citizens,
In this radio speech, I would like to give you the monthly update on the work of my government, and the developments that have taken place in our country.
Looking at current political developments, we see that the country is at an important juncture. I accept that there are differences of opinions about the results achieved so far. However, I would like to point out that the tangible developments we have achieved to date lay a foundation for us to chart a future for the open and free society that we all desire. The reason I am saying this to you now is to urge and remind citizens to firmly seize the opportunities we have today and to sustain and strengthen these political reforms.
The peace building process is fundamental to sustaining the reforms, and I stress to all sides – the government, parliament, Tatmadaw, political parties, and the ethnic armed groups that this process is now at a crucial juncture. Just as a marathon runner must exert the most energy as the finish line draws near, the sides must now also summon up all their efforts to conclude the nationwide ceasefire agreement.
The goodwill, patience, understanding, and focused efforts of all the political groups are essential now. At the same time, only when the nationwide ceasefire agreement is concluded successfully, can we start political dialogue to shape the country’s future. This dialogue will ensure stability, successful holding of the 2015 general elections, and smooth continuation of political reforms. I
especially urge that we set aside personal, party, and political differences and instead focus on sustaining the momentum of political reforms.
At the end of September, I paid goodwill visits to Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. The reform process and our nation taking a respected place in the global community will require assistance from our international friends. I have been making these foreign trips in order to convey the progress of the reforms, democratic transition and peace building efforts.
As Myanmar’s international image improves, commerce and trade will increase, promoting the economic development of the country. While economic development is vital for the nation’s stability, stability is an essential component in strengthening our society’s democratic transition.
The countries I visited have advanced economies, technologies and human development. I was able to gain some valuable insight into their federal systems of government, education systems, institutions, efforts improving human development, and economic strategies. I also took note of potential areas of cooperation.
During the visit, we exchanged ideas on transitioning Myanmar’s economy from resource extraction to one based on skills, manufacturing, research and tourism. We also discussed capacity building of the workforce by providing more training.
Trade and investment will follow improving international relations, and Myanmar citizens must prepare to seize opportunities available to them in the various economic sectors.
On September 23rd, I met with ministers attending the 36thASEAN Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry, hosted by Myanmar in Naypyidaw. I urged ASEAN nations to put more efforts for sustainable agricultural development and food production. Additionally, I challenged ASEAN member states to double their efforts to conserve natural resources including water and forest resources, and to protect the ecological system.
Our country’s water and land are nature’s valuable contributions to the agriculture sector. Transitioning from traditional farming to modern efficient methods is crucial for rural development and poverty reduction. Therefore, the development of the agriculture sector is a strategic focus of my government.
There are currently two areas of concern for Myanmar and other ASEAN members. The first concern is the threat of fast-spreading viruses. Although viruses are not new, increased international travel and rise in population accelerate their spread. While we empathize with the people in West Africa, where the Ebola virus originates, we must also be concerned about the spread of the virus in our region. Adding to these worries are dangers of chemical and biological attacks. Therefore, ASEAN members must cooperatively deal with these dangers.
The second challenge that the ASEAN region faces is the threat of rising sea levels due to climate change. Some of our cities are already experiencing this phenomenon. We will continue to face increasing weather-related issues due to climate change. Indeed, our country experienced a cyclone that claimed over one hundred thousand lives. Although recovery and rehabilitation work was undertaken, the task of restoring the psychological damage to those affected continues today.
Therefore, in learning from these experiences, our region must develop long-term strategies to face the dangers of climate change. Since climate change is also a global concern, ASEAN must speak with a collective voice, vision and position.
Currently, violent beliefs are threatening human rights and peace around the world. Although there is no need for alarm at the recent threats made against Myanmar, we should nevertheless be alert and take necessary precautions. As a result of political reforms, we are certain to encounter issues and threats from those taking advantage of our liberalized and freer society for personal gain. These bad actors were responsible for the ethnic and religious conflicts our country experienced recently.
Now that the groups who are intent on obstructing the development of the country are able to spread their incitement, citizens mustshow their awareness andrespond decisively. Indeed, our society has a long history of living harmoniously despite our differences.
In spite of differences in ethnicity and faith, we all live, work and thrive side by side on Myanmar soil, and share a love of the Union. With these values as the foundation, we must all resist and not be deceived by the efforts of a few troublemakers to cause discord among our fellow citizens. I urge the government, parliament, judiciary, Tatmadaw, Myanmar Police Force, political parties, organizations and citizens to join hands, in patriotic spirit, to prevent violence and conflict.
In conclusion, I would like to inform you that I continue to strive for achieving internal peace, improving livelihoods, and ensuring a brighter future for our children.
I wish you all good health.