New York, NY (BBN)– Burma is confident that upcoming elections, the first to be staged in the country in two decades, will be orderly and successful, foreign minister said the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.

Burma, officially known as Myanmar, Foreign Minister Nyan Win told the Assembly’s annual general debate that the country can draw from “its ample experiences and lessons learned in holding multi-party general elections in the past” to stage the ballot on 7 November.

Mr. Win described his country as being at “the critical phase of its political transformation process,” with the polls serving as the fifth step in the Government-designed political roadmap.

He said 37 political parties, including some representing different ethnic groups, will take part in the elections, with more than 3,000 candidates contesting 1,171 seats spread across the Peoples’ Parliament, the National Parliament and state or regional parliaments.

The foreign minister addressed the Assembly a day after the Group of Friends on Burma met at United Nations Headquarters in New York to discuss ways to help the country’s people and government transition to a credible civilian and democratic government.
The Group of Friends stressed that the November elections must be as inclusive, participatory and transparent as possible, and they called on authorities to take steps to release all political detainees, including the prominent opposition figure and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

Formed in 2007, the Group of more than a dozen nations and regional blocs is designed to serve as a consultative forum for developing a shared approach in support of the Secretary-General’s good offices mandate on Burma.

BBN/SI/ANS-29Sept10-12:56 am (BST)