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Myanmar leader pays UN tribute to Suu Kyi

Published on Sep 28, 2012 2:19 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - Myanmar's President Thein Sein made an unprecedented tribute to opposition icon Aung San Suu Kyi's "efforts for democracy" and vowed to resolve ethnic strife in a landmark United Nations (UN) speech.

Mr Thein Sein, the first Myanmar leader to speak to the UN General Assembly, also told the annual gathering on Thursday that he wants to "completely end" a long-running war with ethnic rebels in Kachin state.

Mr Thein Sein, a former junta general now driving through speedy reforms in his impoverished state, spoke as Ms Suu Kyi comes to the end of a triumphant tour of the United States (US) which some feared could overshadow the president.

But he told world leaders: "This week she is also in New York. As a Myanmar citizen I would like to congratulate her for the honors she has received in this country in recognition of her efforts for democracy." Less than two years ago, his comments would have been unthinkable.

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