Embassy of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar London
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ASEAN will continue to support Myanmar’s efforts to address the Rakhine Issue

Press Release

ASEAN will continue to support Myanmar’s efforts to address the Rakhine Issue

ASEAN welcomes Myanmar’s invitation to the AHA Centre to dispatch a needs assessment team to identify possible areas of cooperation in Rakhine State

The Myanmar delegation led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, arrived back Nay Pyi Taw International Airport today afternoon after attending the 33rdASEAN Summit and Related Summits held in Singapore from 12th to 15thNovember 2018.

On 12 November 2018, the State Counsellor delivered a key note speech at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit with the theme “Business and Investment in Myanmar and ASEAN”. On 13 November 2018, the State Counsellor attended the Opening Ceremony of the 33rd ASEAN Summit, ASEAN Summit Plenary and Working Dinner hosted by Mr. Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore together with other ASEAN Leaders.

On 14 November 2018, the State Counsellor attended the ASEAN-Australia Informal Breakfast Summit, 21st ASEAN-China Summit, 20th ASEAN-Republic of Korea Summit, Working Lunch hosted by Prime Minister Mr. Lee Hsien Loong for ASEAN Leaders and Leaders of Guests of the ASEAN Chair, 3rd ASEAN-Russia Summit, 21st ASEAN-Japan Summit and 2nd Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Summit. Later in the evening, the State Counsellor attended the Gala Dinner hosted by Prime Minister Mr. Lee Hsien Loong for ASEAN Leaders, Leaders of non-ASEAN EAS Participating Countries, and Leaders of Guests of the ASEAN Chair.

On 15 November 2018, the State Counsellor attended the ASEAN-India Informal Breakfast Summit, 6th ASEAN-US Summit, 21st ASEAN Plus Three Summit, East Asia Summit Lunch (Retreat) and 13th East Asia Summit (Plenary). The State Counsellor also attended the Closing Ceremony of the 33rd ASEAN Summits and Related Summits and Handing Over Ceremony of the ASEAN Chairmanship to the Kingdom of Thailand in the evening.

At the 33rd ASEAN Summit, the leaders discussed and exchanged views on matters relating to building a Resilient and Innovative ASEAN, ASEAN’s external relations and future direction, regional and international issues. With regard to Rakhine issue, the ASEAN Leaders highlighted its complexity and noted the agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh to commence the repatriation of the first batch of verified displaced persons to Myanmar. The Leaders recognized the need for ASEAN to play a role in rehabilitation and humanitarian assistance and welcomed the invitation extended by Myanmar to the AHA Centre to dispatch a needs assessment team to identify possible areas of cooperation in Rakhine State to facilitate the repatriation process. The ASEAN Leaders also expressed their continued support for Myanmar in its efforts to bring peace, the rule of law, to promote harmony and reconciliation among the various communities and to ensure sustainable and equitable development in Rakhine State.

In response to the comments about Rakhine issue, the State Counsellor said that Myanmar listens to the voices of concern of some of our ASEAN friends and is grateful for the support to resolve the problem. She informed the meetings of the agreement made between Myanmar and Bangladesh to commence the repatriation of the first batch of displaced persons and explained that there are many areas which our ASEAN friends would like to help us in facilitating development, repatriation and enabling us to ensure security for all communities in Rakhine State. She said that Myanmar has been negotiating with ASEAN as to how AHA Centre could help to facilitate the repatriation process since it would be able to contribute not only in the way of helping us practically but also in the way of providing confidence for all around, making the displaced persons feel that they can be safe. She underscored the Government’s continued efforts in ensuring the harmony and peace among different communities not only for the repatriation process but also for the future since they have to live together for many years.

At the conclusion of the ASEAN Summit, Chairman’s Statement of the 33rd ASEAN Summit was issued in which the ASEAN Leaders expressed, inter alia, their readiness to support Myanmar in its repatriation process. They welcomed the invitation extended by Myanmar to the AHA Centre to dispatch a needs assessment team to identify possible areas of cooperation in Rakhine State to facilitate the repatriation process. They also welcomed Myanmar’s commitment to ensuring safety and security for all communities in Rakhine State as effectively as possible. They also expressed their continued support for Myanmar's efforts to bring peace, stability, the rule of law, to promote harmony and reconciliation among the various communities, as well as to ensure sustainable and equitable development in Rakhine State.

At the East Asia Summit, some ASEAN dialogue partners expressed their concern on Rakhine issue and the importance of the voluntary return of displaced persons in a safe, secure and dignified manner. Most of them welcomed the agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh to commence the repatriation of the first batch of verified displaced persons to Myanmar. They expressed their readiness to support the efforts of Myanmar, ASEAN and international community in addressing the issue.

In response to the comments, the State Counsellor expressed her appreciation for the offer, constructive assistance and understanding towards Myanmar in addressing the issue. She stressed that it is the primary duty of Myanmar to ensure peace, stability, observance of human rights and rule of law in the country and expressed its continued commitment to take the duty seriously and do its best to discharge.

After the 33rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits, the Leaders of ASEAN and Dialogue Partners issued, adopted and noted (63) documents which include, among others, the Declaration on the Guidelines on Consular Assistance by ASEAN Member States’ Missions in Third Countries to Nationals of Other ASEAN Member States, ASEAN Smart Cities Framework, ASEAN Enabling Masterplan 2025: Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ASEAN Plus Three Leaders’ Statement on Cooperation Against Antimicrobial Resistance, EAS Leaders’ Statement on Combating Marine Plastic Debris, EAS Leaders’ Statement on the Safe and Secure Use, Storage, and Transport of Nuclear and Other Radioactive Materials, EAS Leaders’ Statement on Countering the Threat of Foreign Terrorist Fighters and Returnees.

The State Counsellor witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between ASEAN and the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) on Economic Cooperation together with the Heads of State/Government of the ASEAN Member States and the Russian Federation. The MOU will help ASEAN and EEC overcome the economic challenges arising out of protectionism, trade barriers and technological gaps.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Nay Pyi Taw,
Date: 16 November 2018.

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