YANGON, April 23 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar President U Thein Sein on Tuesday attributed his receipt of "In Pursuit of Peace" Award to marching together with the people towards democracy of having more freedom and transparency as well as all-inclusiveness in the political process.
U Thein Sein made the remarks in his video speech aired by the state radio thanking the International Crisis Group (ICG) for presenting him the award at the Pierre Hotel in New York City Monday night, which was accepted by Minister at his office U Aung Min on his behalf.
U Thein Sein won the award for initiating the release of thousands of prisoners and opposition members as well as relaxation of media control in two years' time since he took office in March 2011.
He linked democracy with peace, saying that they are mutually related.
He extended invitation to the international community to observe the changing situation in Myanmar, saying that it is now the right time to realize practical cooperation.
Since taking presidency, U Thein Sein has led a historic change of his country with bold reform initiatives. His leadership has seen decisive action towards improving Myanmar's relations with the political opposition and liberalizing past controversial laws. He has made significant strides in ending the country's decades- long internal conflicts, securing ceasefires with all but one of the ethnic armed groups.
However, key challenges remain to be addressed which cover securing a sustainable peace in all regions, ending ethnic conflicts and ensuring that all in Myanmar benefit from the opening up of the country to the international community.
This year's recipients of the award presented by the ICG group also include Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the former President of Brazil.