Latest News, Mar 31, 2011
covering burma and southeast asia
Saturday, June 15, 2024

Latest News, Mar 31, 2011

By THE IRRAWADDY Thursday, March 31, 2011


Ban Calls for Genuine Transition to Democracy in Burma

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday took note of the transfer of power to the new civilian government in Burma, calling on authorities to engage in forming a credible system of government. Ban said in a statement released by his spokesperson that Burmese authorities now have an opportunity and an obligation to their people to demonstrate that this change is one of substance and that it is the start of a genuine move away from almost fifty years of direct military rule. The junta known as State Peace and Development Council was officially dissolved on Wednesday as the new government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar was sworn into office in Naypyidaw.

US Dismisses Burma New Government as 'Immaterial'

The US on Wednesday dismissed the nominal transfer of authority in Burma from military to civilian figures as “immaterial” and said military leaders remain in control. The State Department said the Obama administration will continue pushing for genuine reform. The State Department is calling the nominal transfer of power to civilians in Burma at best a lateral move, and says the United States will continue pressing a two-track strategy of engagement with Burmese authorities and sanctions to try to promote real reforms. The comments came after a ceremony in the Burmese parliament in which the long-ruling military junta was declared officially dissolved, and a new civilian government sworn into office. The State Department Acting Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner told Voice of America that the US urges Burmese authorities to release all political prisoners, recognize the legitimacy of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy Party, and enter into a genuine, inclusive, dialogue with all democratic and ethnic-based opposition groups “as a first step toward reconciliation.”

Chinese Friendship Associations Donate 100,000 Yuan to Quake-hit Burma

Two Chinese friendship associations have donated 100,000 yuan (US $15,250) to quake-hit Burma, according to a press release from the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) on Wednesday. Burmese Ambassador to China Tin Oo accepted the donation on Tuesday from the CPAFFC and the China-Myanmar Association for Friendship. On March 24, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake jolted Loimwe, a town 56 km southeast of Kengtung in northeastern Burma, leaving about 73 people dead and 125 wounded, according to official figures. Chinese President Hu Jintao has delivered a message of condolence to his Burmese counterpart, Thein Sein, for the loss of life and property inflicted by the earthquake. Also, China offered US $500,000 dollars in emergency humanitarian aid to quake-stricken Burma, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

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