| YANGON, July 30
YANGON, July 30 Myanmar's ministers of
information and health have resigned, state media reported on
Wednesday, the latest changes in a cabinet that has been
grappling with a host of problems as the country presses on with
reforms after decades of military rule.
The New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported that President
Thein Sein had "allowed" Information Minister Aung Kyi and
Health Minister Pe Thet Khin to step down "of their own
No reason was given for the resignations but the work of
both of their ministries has been in the public spotlight in
recent months. Neither of the two men was available for comment.
Several times in the past, ministers who were reported as
having stepped down "of their own volition", were later found to
have been forced out of the cabinet.
Myanmar's reform process has moved rapidly under President
Thein Sein, a former military commander whose changes since 2011
have helped persuade Europe and the United States to roll back
crippling trade sanctions.
But problems including ethnic violence and harsh sentences
for four journalists under an official secrets act have raised
concerns both inside Myanmar and among foreign allies.
Presidential Spokesman Ye Htut, who is also the deputy
minister of information, told Reuters that the president had
exercised his right to accept the ministers' resignations but he
also hinted that the president wanted the two out of his team.
"Just like a coach of football team, he has the right change
both the players and the game plan depending on the results so
far to improve the performance of his team in the remaining
time," Ye Htut said.
The United States has been seeking to encourage reforms in
the strategically important country in Asia, where Washington is
competing for influence with an increasingly assertive China.
President Barack Obama has sought to present Myanmar as a
foreign policy success, but its handling of ethnic and religious
tension and other human rights issues has been viewed in
Washington with growing concern.
(Additional reporting by Paul Mooney; Editing by Robert Birsel)