Washington: Pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday voiced caution about changes in Myanmar, saying that a year of reforms have started to "bear buds" but not yet yield fruit.
Suu Kyi, who spent most of the past two decades under house arrest, entered parliament this month in the most dramatic sign of reform yet in the country earlier known as Burma. But she has repeatedly said that reforms are fragile.
"It has been very satisfying for all of us in Burma to know that our efforts to promote human rights have begun to -- I wouldn't say bear fruit -- but bear buds," Suu Kyi said in a video message to the graduating class of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, which presented her with an honorary degree.
"The buds have yet to blossom and the blossoms have yet to turn to fruit. But at least they're beginning to bear buds," Suu Kyi said.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner also appealed to Johns Hopkins University and other US educational institutions to look for ways to help Myanmar meet a "great need" to improve its young people's skills.
"There are vast numbers of unemployed graduates in Burma because the universities have not given them the kind of basic education that would enable them to find jobs," Suu Kyi said.
President Thein Sein, a nominal civilian, has surprised even many critics since taking over last year by undertaking reforms including freeing political prisoners and starting dialogue with Suu Kyi and ethnic rebels.


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