by Ray Fleming

The pace of reform in Burma (Myanmar) is almost too great to believe. Indeed there are politicians in the West who think it is moving so fast it will end in a crash and risk reversion to the policies of the military dictatorship that still holds office.

But it really does seem that at the same time two outstanding figures have emerged who are capable together of putting Burma back on the road to democracy it was close to taking after it gained its independence in 1948.

The better known of these figures, of course, is Aung San Suu Kyi who is now active in Burmese politics after more than twenty years of imprisonment and house arrest.

The other is the hitherto shadowy president U Thein Sein; although a former general in the military regime he is now an active and apparently committed advocate of political and economic reform in his country.

Both were in the United States for the UN General Assembly last week.
Aung San Suu Kyi also visited Washington to receive the Congressional Gold Medal, America highest civilian award, given to her when still under arrest in 2008.

Thein Sein held many meetings and in an interview for BBC World Service said he would be ready to step aside as president if an election voted in favour of Aung San Suu Kyi. It's heady stuff.