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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

World

Myanmar president holds milestone first press briefing
AP
Naypyitaw, October 23, 2012
First Published: 01:04 IST(23/10/2012)
Last Updated: 01:05 IST(23/10/2012)

Myanmar's reformist president held his first press conference for local media in a national milestone after years of secrecy and censorship by the former military regime.

Thein Sein didn't break any stunning news when he answered about 30 questions from local press and foreign correspondents on subjects ranging from fighting with ethnic rebels in the north to amending the country's military-fashioned constitution.

His mere appearance, however, told the story about his country's turn from secrecy and paranoia to relative openness.

Sunday's news conference in the capital, Naypyitaw, ran 20 minutes past its 2-hour length.

The 67-year-old ex-general, who had been prime minister under the ruling junta, looked tense as he started answering questions but soon relaxed enough to reveal a little-known sense of humour.

Explaining why he was holding the pioneering press conference, he told of being interviewed many times during his recent visit to the US and said he had the hardest time answering questions on the inquisitorial BBC programme, Hardtalk.

After surviving that experience, he said, he's no longer afraid of meeting with the media. But he added that he feared he would also be criticised by Myanmar's media if he didn't come out to talk at home after giving so many interviews abroad.

Thein Sein avoided revealing too much, speaking only in general terms even about critical matters about the nation.


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