Deputy Secretary Blinken traveled to Naypyitaw on January 18 to meet with leaders of the current and incoming governments in the wake of the country’s historic national elections at the end of last year. The Deputy Secretary was joined by Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Tom Malinowski.
In meetings with President Thein Sein, Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin, and Deputy Commander in Chief General Soe Win, the Deputy Secretary commended the government on its conduct of last year’s peaceful elections, and called upon its leaders to seize this moment of great opportunity and work together with Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy to ensure a peaceful transition to a new government and the further strengthening of civilian authority in the country.
The Deputy Secretary encouraged government officials to continue to move forward on reforms in the remaining months of its mandate, including additional measures to ensure broad-based economic growth, the continued pursuit of national reconciliation, the promotion of human rights, and the release of all remaining political prisoners. Deputy Secretary Blinken also raised our strong concern about discrimination and violence experienced by ethnic and religious minorities, including the Rohingya population in Rakhine State.
In his meeting with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Deputy Secretary congratulated the National League for Democracy on its electoral victory and offered the United States’ support for the upcoming political transition. The Deputy Secretary again expressed our concern over conditions in Rakhine State and other conflict areas, and pledged that we would offer any help necessary as the incoming government charts a course ahead on overcoming challenges, underdevelopment, and social division for all people of the country.