Remarks With Burmese President Thein Sein Before Their Meeting

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Waldorf Astoria Hotel
New York City
September 26, 2012

The video below is available with closed captioning on YouTube

PRESIDENT THEIN SEIN: (Via interpreter) (Inaudible) ambassador to the United States (inaudible). I believe that our subsequent meetings have contributed a lot to the strengthening health of our bilateral relations between Myanmar and the United States. And on behalf of the people of Myanmar, we would like to extend our gratitude to Madam Secretary, who has opened a new chapter in our bilateral relations. The improvement of our bilateral relations, we can see that for instance, we now we have the – our diplomatic relations have been at the ambassadorial level.

And the people of Myanmar are very pleased that – on the news of easing of economic sanctions by the United States and we are grateful for the action by the United States. The democratic reform path that we have (inaudible). We still need to continue our path on democratic reforms, but with the recognition and the support from the champion of democracy like the United States, it has been an encouragement for us to continue our chosen path. And I would like to take this opportunity to express my cordial greeting to the President Obama and my best wishes for election campaign. I would personally like to (inaudible) to President Obama.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Mr. President, it’s wonderful to see you again, as you say, for our third meeting. I believe we have had productive discussions in Nay Pyi Taw and in Siem Reap, and I look forward to such a discussion here in New York. We have watched as you and your government have continued the steady process of reform, and we’ve been pleased to respond with specific steps that recognize the government’s efforts and encourage further reform.

And in recognition of the continued progress toward reform and in response to requests from both the government and the opposition, the United States is taking the next step in normalizing our commercial relationship. We will begin the process of easing restrictions on imports of Burmese goods into the United States. We hope this will provide more opportunities for your people to sell their goods into our market. As we do so, we will continue consulting with Congress and other relevant stakeholders about additional steps, while at the same time working with you and supporting those who are hoping that the reform will be permanent and progress will be continuing.

We recognize, Mr. President, that you are doing many things at once – political reform, moving toward a democratic change; economic reform, moving toward greater connection of your country with the global economy; working to end ethnic conflicts as you move toward peace and stability for your country.

So I look forward to our discussion today, Mr. President. Thank you.

PRN: 2012/1527