Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Soros talks policy reform with Thein Sein, Suu Kyi

American billionaire George Soros could provide technical support to assist the government with policy reform in a number of areas, a government spokesman said last week.

Mr Soros, whose Open Society Institute (OSI) is active in promoting democracy, arrived in Myanmar this month for his second visit since the current government came to power.

At a meeting with President U Thein Sein on January 9 in Nay Pyi Taw, Mr Soros discussed changes to economic and media policy in Myanmar.

“He said OSI would provide technical support,” presidential spokesman U Ye Htut said.

Mr Soros also met Aung San Suu Kyi and representatives of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, 88 Generation student group, the Myanmar Peace Centre and other civil society organisations, U Hla Maung Shwe from Myanmar Egress told The Myanmar Times on January 10.

U Hla Maung Shwe said Mr Soros seemed particularly interested in developments in the political, business and education sectors, as well as internal conflict resolution.

“This is the first time he’s met with such a wide range of people here,” he said.

Mr Soros’s Open Society Foundations are active in more than 70 countries around the world in support of human rights activities and democracy.

“He might provide technical support for the Peace Centre activities, but he didn’t go into detail,” said U Hla Maung Shwe, who also a member of the Peace Centre.

U Khun Htun Oo, chairman of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy Party, said Mr Soros asked about the peace process in Shan State, where the SNLD is planning a peace conference in April.

“I briefed him on the peace process in Shan State and mentioned the need for funding, but he made no detailed response about possible support,” he said.

On January 8, Mr Soros met leaders of the 88 Generation and asked about the group’s involvement in the peace process.