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BURMA

Hollande assures Suu Kyi of support

Burmese pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi will meet with officials in France on Wednesday after winning assurances from President François Hollande that Paris will back her reform efforts.

Hollande assures Suu Kyi of support
Htoo Tay
On the second day of a three-day visit to France – the last leg of her landmark tour of Europe – Suu Kyi will be made an honourary citizen of Paris and meet with Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.
After meeting with her on Tuesday, Hollande said France would support “all actors” in Burma’s reforms and that Paris was ready to welcome reformist President Thein Sein if he wanted to visit.
“I reaffirm here that France will support all the actors in Burma’s democratic transition and will do everything possible with… the European Union so that this process goes to the end,” Hollande said at a joint press conference with Suu Kyi in the Elysèe Palace.
Asked about Thein Sein, who Britain last week invited to visit, Hollande said: “If he wants to come, he will come.”
Nobel Peace laureate Suu Kyi, 67, came to France after warm welcomes in Switzerland, Ireland, Norway and Britain and was treated with honours normally accorded a head of state, including a dinner with Hollande and other top officials.
Suu Kyi was freed from nearly two decades of house arrest in November 2010 and became a lawmaker earlier this year as part of a gradual transition towards democracy in the Southeast Asian nation.
She has used the European tour to call for transparent investment in Burma.
“We need democracy as well as economic development,” she said. “Development cannot be a substitute for democracy, it must be used to strengthen the foundations of democracy.”
Suu Kyi said “financial transparency in the extractive industries and in fact business in general” were essential to investment.
She said efforts still needed to be made to convince the Burmese regime of the need for democratic reforms but that Thein Sein seemed sincere.

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BURMA

France calls on Burma to resolve ethnic conflict

France called Monday for Burmese authorities to protect civilians of all ethnic groups "without discrimination" after reports of renewed deadly violence between Buddhists and Muslim Rohingya.

"France attaches great importance to a peaceful and concerted resolution to ethnic questions in Burma, in order to achieve national reconciliation," foreign ministry deputy spokesman Vincent Floreani said in a statement.

The ministry called for the status of Muslims in Burma's western Rakhine state "to be clarified with regard to right to nationality and for them to
enjoy, whatever their status, full respect for human rights."

"There are reports of worrying acts of violence by security forces against civilians. We call on the Burmese authorities to protect all civilian
populations, without discrimination, and to investigate possible abuses," Floreani said.

Fighting in western Rakhine state has killed 80 people from both sides since June, with six reportedly killed on Sunday, although authorities say the
situation has been generally calm in recent weeks.

The violence initially broke out in June following the rape and murder of a Rakhine woman and the subsequent lynching of 10 Muslims by a crowd of angry
Buddhists.

The bloodshed has cast a shadow over widely praised reforms by President Thein Sein, including the release of hundreds of political prisoners and the
election to parliament of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to parliament.

New York-based Human Rights Watch has accused Myanmar forces of openingnfire on Rohingya, as well as committing rape and standing by as rival mobs
attacked each other.

Decades of discrimination have left the Rohingya stateless and they are viewed by the United Nations as one of the world's most persecuted minorities.

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