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ActionAid ambassador sees change

Says President Thein Sein essential to 'process of change' in the embattled country

Mike MacLachlan, London

Mike MacLachlan, London

Published: October 26, 2011 07:57 AM GMT

Updated: October 26, 2011 07:59 AM GMT

ActionAid ambassador sees change

Myanmar may be at “the tipping point” from dictatorship to democracy, the British actress Emma Thompson said this week. Thomson has just returned from a visit to Myanmar as an ambassador for the charity ActionAid. She told the flagship BBC radio news programme Today that she detected a new mood of optimism in the country. This came from a “vastly eclectic” group of people, she said. Ex-political prisoners said they felt there was genuine change and more to come. And she felt when talking to some high-level officials that their talk of human rights was “not simply window dressing.” President Thein Sein was “key to the process of change,” she added. Asked by interviewer John Humphrys whether she thought the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi had “slightly compromised herself” by getting closer to the regime since her release from house arrest, Thompson said Suu Kyi believed the president was “absolutely genuine.” “She has faith in this president,” Thompson said. She quoted Suu Kyi as saying: “Let us not act with indecent haste.” The opposition leader wanted “the right kind of space and the right kind of advice and analysis” in moving towards democracy, she added.

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