Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Race to the White House: Hillary Clinton's popularity problem

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

HRW chief Kenneth Roth: 'Putin cares about European public opinion'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Facebook profits soar 186% as user numbers surge

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Turkey: 'Once upon a time, there was a democracy'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Priest attack: 'After the shock, now come the questions'

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

DR Congo: Thousands welcome opposition leader Tshisekedi after two-year absence

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

FRANCE 24 amongst French media to stop publishing jihadists' photos

Read more

THE DEBATE

Church attack aftermath - France's political fallout: Who stands to benefit?

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Safety at any cost in Israel

Read more

Asia-pacific

Burmese president meets France’s Hollande

© AFP

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-07-17

Burma's President Thein Sein met French President François Hollande and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on Wednesday for talks on economic and diplomatic ties, in the second leg of his European tour.

France’s leaders are set to meet Myanmar President Thein Sein to discuss widening economic and diplomatic ties.

The talks Wednesday between Thein Sein and President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault are the second leg in a European tour for the Myanmar president. He met British Prime Minister David Cameron earlier this week.

France and other Western nations imposed sanctions on Myanmar’s previous military junta and avoided military-to-military contacts. Most sanctions were dropped after Thein Sein took office in 2011 and instituted economic and political reforms.

However, just last week U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon warned Myanmar that it must end Buddhist attacks on minority Muslims in the Southeast Asian country if it wants to be seen as a credible nation.

Myanmar for decades has faced rebellions from several ethnic groups seeking autonomy. The Kachin Independence Army is the only major rebel group that has not reached a cease-fire agreement with the government.

Nearly 250 people have died and tens of thousands, mostly Muslims, have fled their homes in religious violence in the past year. Buddhist mobs have marched through villages burning houses and mosques and brandishing machetes and clubs.

New freedoms of speech under Thein Sein have made it easier to disseminate radical views, while exposing deep-seeded racism felt by much of the population toward Muslims and other minorities.

Sectarian violence began in western Rakhine state last year, when hundreds died in clashes between Buddhists and Muslims that drove about 140,000 people, mostly Muslims, from their homes. The violence had seemed confined to that region, but in late March, Buddhist-led violence - fueled by the killing of a monk after a Buddhist mob burned down several Muslim-owned shops - swept the town of Meikthila in central Myanmar, killing at least 43 people.

Celestine Foucher of Info Birmanie, a French human rights organization, said Thein Sein election triggered “misplaced and exaggerated euphoria” in the West.

“By inviting the new president, it looks like we’re giving 100 percent backing to someone who is only making a 10 percent effort” to improve human rights in Myanmar, Foucher said. The Myanmar leader’s “first meeting Wednesday is with (business lobby) MEDEF, that shows you were the priorities lie, " she added.

(AP)

Date created : 2013-07-17

  • BURMA - USA

    Burma's Thein Sein in landmark White House visit

    Read more

  • BURMA

    Rights group accuses Burma of ‘ethnic cleansing’

    Read more

COMMENT(S)