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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet: Burma Is One of the Few Countries in Today’s World Where Fundamentally Positive Changes Are Occurring

27.11.2013

In Monday’s meeting with the Burmese Minister of President Office U Tin Naing Thein in Tallinn, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that Estonia recognises Burma’s positive changes and is ready to share its experiences with reform. “Burma is one of the few success stories in today’s world,” he added.
“We acknowledge the Burmese government’s reforms aimed at creating a stable, democratic, and open society,” said Foreign Minister Paet. Estonia considers it important for Burma to organise free and fair elections in 2015.

The interest of Estonian businesses toward Burma, as a country that is reforming quickly, is increasing. “The reforms aimed at promoting a stable and predictable business environment create a good precondition for investments from Europe and the rest of the world,” said Paet. He added that Estonia is naming a non-residing Ambassador to Burma.

According to Paet, it is important for the European Union and Burma to cooperate even more closely in order to expand the restoration of a stable and democratic national system. He added that Estonia is ready to share its experiences with Burma regarding the building up of a democratic government that is characterised by rule of law. “Estonia has interesting solutions to offer for promoting the development of information society,” stated Paet. “It is positive that, in terms of information technology-related cooperation, concrete steps have been taken and the Estonian delegation that visited Burma in March of this year has by now proposed possible projects,” he added.

The diplomatic relations between Estonia and Burma were established by Foreign Minister Paet and his Burmese counterpart in September 2012 in New York.
Beginning in 2011, reforms in Burma have brought about historic changes; political prisoners have been freed, media censorship has been withdrawn, trade unions have been allowed, ceasefire agreements have been signed, and dialogue has begun with armed groups of national minorities.

In May 2013, a ceasefire was concluded with the last national minority resistance organisation. The government has enabled the re-registration of the National League for Democracy and its participation in the interim parliament elections.

An important diplomatic victory for Burma was the agreement of the states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to grant Burma the presidency for 2014, which also means that the 2014 ASEAN Summit will take place in Burma.

Photos of the meeting: http://www.flickr.com/photos/estonian-foreign-ministry.

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