Peace and national reconciliation were the key points emphasized in State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s State of the Union address, broadcast on state-run television on Thursday evening.
One the day, which marked the first anniversary of the National League for Democracy (NLD) government taking office, she pledged to try harder to serve the people and to earn “the public’s support, respect and trust.”
“The peace process is not easy, but we have a lot of hope,” the State Counselor said. “Especially these days, hopes are growing for our second session of the 21st Century Panglong conference.”
“On the road to peace, sometimes we move forward, or stop for a while or we may even step back a little. But we clearly know our goal and we will move forward to achieve it.”
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said her government would stand “together with the people”—the NLD’s new slogan—“for more development, peace and reconciliation in our country […] based on our diversity.”
She said the government tries its best to be transparent and accountable, while also acknowledging that she is aware of the public’s frustration with them for not reaching their expectations in all areas.
“I have said since the beginning that I would try my best,” she explained, adding that, “if people think my best effort is not enough for them and if there are any other persons or organizations who can do better than us, we are ready to step back.”
Her comments came at the time when people are expressing discontent regarding what they perceive as a lack of progress, while the country’s peace process with ethnic armed groups remains elusive and reports of state security abuses against the Rohingya in the western part of the country has attracted international criticism.
The State Counselor acknowledged support from the international community but asked those outside the county to allow Burma to address its own problems.
“We value the support, help and sympathy of our friends around the world, in our efforts toward peace and national reconciliation. But we must work ourselves for our country’s responsibilities, because we are the ones who best understand what our country needs.”
Thus, she said, the government did not accept the United Nations Human Rights Council’s recent decision to undertake a fact-finding mission focused on alleged military abuses in Arakan State. “It does not mean we disrespect the UN,” Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said. “It is just that it does not correspond with our country’s [situation].”
She highlighted developments to the education and health sectors, to infrastructure, and in maximizing the budget, but did not go into the details of the successes in each ministry, since this information had been outlined by state-run newspapers in recent weeks.
The State Counselor specifically pointed to international recognition from the Global Fund regarding Burma’s efforts in the fight against tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS as a major accomplishment.
From now on, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said, regarding economic policies, “we will focus on job creation, infrastructure development in road transport, and access to electricity.”