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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 1591

Burma needs more transparency to address Rakhine dilemma

By - Zin Linn

President of Myanmar (Burma) U Thein Sein received a delegation led by Turkish Foreign Minister Mr Ahmet Davutoglu at the Credentials Hall of the Presidential Palace in Naypyitaw on Thursday, the state-run The New Light of Myanmar newspaper said today.

The President said in his greetings that, Myanmar (Burma) and Turkey are friendly nations with diplomatic ties established since 1958. The mutual relations will be boosted by the opening of the temporary embassy in Yangon. Site for construction of the embassy in Nay Pyi Taw has been designated. Myanmar embassy will be opened in Ankara of Turkey.

The foreign minister’s visit would further strengthen existing friendly ties and future relations between the two countries. He again extended his heartfelt welcome to the Turkish minister.

The visiting Turkish minister said he was filled with pride of the meeting since his trip is the first ever Turkish high-ranking official visit to Myanmar. He also exposed his delight for receiving the delegation by the President.

An invitation from the Turkish President to the Myanmar President to visit Turkey was handed over by Mr Ahmet Davutoglu. The minister also expressed his pleasure on meeting between the wife of the Myanmar President and the wife of the Turkish Prime Minister.

Turkish minister said that he thanked Myanmar on behalf of 75 million Turkish people for maintenance of the fallen Turkish soldiers’ war cemetery in Myanmar. There were around 1200 soldiers died in action in Myanmar as they served in the British army during World War II.

Mr Davutoglu also said that the optimistic image of Myanmar should not be tarnished due to Rakhine dilemma. He showed gratitude to President Thein Sein for allowing him to visit Rakhine State. He said he would brief his real findings in OIC meeting to be held in Saudi Arabia next week on the Rakhine issue.

He also said that Turkey will observe the issue on humanitarian ground since quarrels between the people of different races and religions could break out at some point. Both Muslims and Buddhists must be provided with aids. TICA, Red Crescent Society and NGOs are ready to offer assistances to the victims, Turkish minister said. As Turkish donors donated US$ 50 million for victims in Rakhine State, he would like to purchase foods and drugs for the victims.

He said he stood with Myanmar against misunderstandings on Myanmar in Turkey. The misinterpretation of OIC countries could be prevented by allowing international assistances, as people from various religions including Islam lived in harmony in Myanmar.

President Thein Sein expressed thanks to Turkish foreign minister for his standpoint, suggestion and readiness to give needy helps. The meeting with the Turkish minister who has deep knowledge of Myanmar’s religion and culture would be fruitful, the President said.

The President also thanked the Turkish minister for inviting him to visit Turkey. President Thein Sein also offered the Turkish minister a goodwill message to the Turkish President, Prime Minister, government ministers and people.

The President said that preparations have been made for the Turkish minister’s stopover to Turkish war cemetery in Meiktila. He added that there is another war cemetery in Thayet.

The President showed gratitude to the Turkish minister for the aids intended for victims, saying the aids would be distributed systematically. Rakhine issue has nothing to do with religion or race since people of various races lived in sociable surroundings in the country.

“It was ignited by the atrocious slaughter of a young woman. The reason of the disorder is due to the criminal act. There were retaliations between the groupings that pushed the situation bad to worst. The government has controlled the situation in time keeping it to be secured,” quoting President Thein Sein’ speech the state-run newspaper said.

The President said that he was disappointed by misinformation of the media. The pictures of genocide spreading in the internet were not from Rakhine incidents but from other parts of the world. Those fake media coverage try to fuel the viewers that these things are occurring in Rakhine, he said.

According to the President, only 77 persons - 31 Rakhine nationals and 46 Bengalis - lost lives during the incident. Around 100 victims from both side injured. A total of 4800 houses were destroyed by fire as both sides burnt up in rage.

The arson attacks left 60,000 homeless people who stayed in 53 relief camps. Rescue and rehabilitation procedures were taken by the government together with UN agencies and NGOs, he said. Foods and drugs for 60,000 homeless people are essentially needed. Aids brought by the Turkish FM would contribute to these measures a lot, President said.

A press conference was held on 30 July in order to brief the diplomats on the Rakhine issue. The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Situation in Myanmar Mr Quintana also press attended the conference as he was on a visit in Myanmar.

The OIC secretary is invited to visit Myanmar and witness the reality. The President said he believed the OIC secretary could witness the truth. He thanked the Turkish minister for a chance to elaborate on the issue. The reality the Turkish minister witnessed might be distributed, he said. He requested the Turkish minister to explain the realities in Myanmar at OIC meeting.

The Turkish FM showed appreciation to the explanation of President Thein Sein. Transparency is the most effective way to prevent issues in Rakhine State, the Turkish minister said. He promised to explain what he witnessed in Myanmar at OIC meeting and urge the OIC secretary to visit Myanmar.

According to some analysts, to create reliable transparency, the government should allow press freedom in the country. Besides, international and domestic journalists should not be restricted to have access into the trouble region. If there were journalists during the chaos, misinformation of the sham media might not be spread around the world. But, it happened because of lack of press witness during the trouble time.

- Asian Tribune -

Burma needs more transparency to address Rakhine dilemma
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