Interview with British Ambassador Andrew Patrick
Mizzima Business Weekly – 8 May 2014
In a wide-ranging interview with Hans Hulst of Myanmar Business Weekly, British Ambassador Andrew Patrick made a number of points:
•An absolutely key thing is that there is an election next year that reflects the views of the voters. Is that going to happen or not? It’s too early to say.
•Democracy is important, but democracies tend to fall apart without economic growth. Both are needed.
•What happened in Rakhine is very disappointing, but in most of the rest of the country, as far as I can tell, the census has actually been collected without incident. The data will be incredibly useful.
•So I think one of the risks hasn’t yet come to pass, which was the idea we wouldn’t get this far because the situation would be too volatile.
•Of course when we use it, that’s not to say we’re expecting some sort of special status or a recognition of the Rohingya as an ethnic group. That is for the Burmese parliament to decide.
•It is pretty important for us and the media not to lose sight of the fact that the Rakhine community has good reason to be angry and disappointed. Rakhine is the second least developed part of the country. Only a minority of that community supports violence.
•For us the overriding issue still is the reform process. Supporting democratisation is our main aim.
•Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is a hugely respected figure in the UK, so people assume we have a policy based on her, whereas our policies are based on supporting democracy.
•She is an extraordinary leader, a world leader.
•I think friction is healthy. If there was no friction at all, I would be wondering if I was doing my job.