Elections Make for “Historic Day” in Burma
Letter of congratulations from Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the Republic, to Aung San Suu Kyi, General Secretary of the National League for Democracy
Paris, April 2, 2012
Dear Ms Suu Kyi,
I very warmly congratulate you on your election, and on that of very many of your party’s candidates, to parliament. On behalf of the French people, I wanted to salute this victory of democracy in your country and your remarkable personal commitment, which for so many years has aroused everyone’s admiration. France has always been, and will remain, at your side so that your tireless efforts to promote human rights and democracy open up a new era in the Burmese people’s history.
Although these elections involved only a small number of constituencies, they undeniably represent a milestone on the path towards democratization, which France has always been very keen to see. I am satisfied to learn that, in spite of a few irregularities, voting overall seems to have proceeded democratically and transparently, unlike the November 2010 elections, when you and your party were kept out. I see this as another gesture from the government of President Thein Sein, which deserves to be welcomed.
I am delighted that the National League for Democracy, at your side, will soon be able to make its voice heard in parliament and contribute to the transition process under way. I firmly believe that your party will constructively engage in debates, on issues which are all extremely important for the Burmese people.
However, we are conscious that the path towards national reconciliation is still long. I hope that the political prisoners still being detained will soon be released. I also hope that the fighting – which continues to pit the army against ethnic minorities, particularly at the moment in Kachin State, where the humanitarian situation is worrying – will be rapidly brought to an end so that a political solution may be found.
I assure you of France’s constant support in the battle you are waging for democracy in Burma.
Statement by Mr. Alain Juppé, Ministre d’Etat, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs
Paris, April 2, 2012
Yesterday was a historic day for the Burmese people and represents a milestone for the return of democracy in Burma.
Pending official results, France welcomes the conditions in which the elections—characterized by strong, free voter participation—took place.
During my visit to Burma in February, I had the opportunity to assess the expectations of the Burmese people and their attachment to Aung San Suu Kyi, who embodies their fight for freedom.
Initial results point to the election of Aung San Suu Kyi and National League for Democracy candidates. France is pleased that this opposition party will finally be allowed to have a voice in Parliament as part of the transition process currently underway.
This is a new phase in the process under way. The road to reform and national reconciliation will be a long one. The issue of prisoners must still be resolved through dialogue between the government and the opposition, with a view to the release of all detainees. We also hope to see a swift end to ongoing conflicts between the army and ethnic minorities, particularly in Kachin State, where fighting continues and the humanitarian situation is troubling, in order to achieve a long-term political solution acceptable to all parties. General elections must be held because it is they that will mark the full return of sovereignty to the people.
The European Union must re-examine its joint position by the end of April. It will not fail to consider all the changes in the situation since last year, and notably the way in which Sunday’s elections unfolded.