State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi held a video conference yesterday from the Presidential Palace in Nay Pyi Taw, with Myanmar ambassadors serving in China, Thailand and ROK, who made arrangements for the repatriation of Myanmar citizens.
After words of greetings by the State Counsellor, Myanmar Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China U Myo Thant Pe recounted his embassy’s coordination efforts conducted with Chinese authorities and local people in bringing back Myanmar students stranded in Wuhan city due to the lockdown amid COVID-19, Myanmar Ambassador to Thailand U Myo Myint Than reported how he coordinated with different departments in Thailand for the safe return of Myanmar migrant workers from Thailand, and Myanmar Ambassador to the Republic of Korea U Thant Sin explained the arrangements and coordination efforts that had to be made to bring back Myanmar citizens using special relief flights; he also reported on arrangements that had to be made to bring back Myanmar citizens from the respective countries.
In response to the presentations made and in giving her concluding remarks, the State Counsellor said that Myanmar embassies were reliable places for Myanmar citizens no matter where they were or whatever difficulties they were in to get proper assistance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was responsible for making that happen, and that these embassies played a crucial role in implementing the policies and directives issued by the MOFA in the proper manner.
She emphasized that what was most important was for the diplomats to establish friendly relations not only with the governments of the host countries but also their people; this was the main duty of Myanmar foreign service personnel and that the aim of conducting the present videoconference was in a way to inform the people how these duties were being performed by these personnel.
She added that it was also necessary to consider for the long term how many Myanmar migrant workers would get back their jobs after COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted; when such things were considered, all the necessary advance arrangements had been made to ensure that respective Myanmar missions would be ready to assist with the livelihood needs of the migrant workers.
Myanmar workers were also working in China; there was much activity at the border areas; more care had to be taken during the COVID-19 period; however it was not easy to halt border crossings for business purposes; it was thus important to resume the cross-border trade which nearly came to a standstill for two to three months; it was the same with ROK; the Myanmar ambassador to ROK has requested for more relief flights for persons working in bilateral projects which were suspended in the previous month; this was to promote trade between the two countries; just as there were Koreans who were implementing programmes in Myanmar who wanted to come to Myanmar, so there were also Myanmar nationals who wanted to travel to ROK; that was why it has been decided to conduct relief flights once a week.
She said they hoped to resume regular flights with other countries and that they wanted to implement this as soon as possible; they also had grave concerns that a second wave of outbreaks could occur if necessary restrictions for COVID-19 were not put in place due to hasty decisions; reports from Myanmar embassies on the measures taken by respective countries against COVID-19 were very helpful; considerations were being made to see whether new ideas could be obtained after reading these reports.
Embassies were the key facilitators for communications between respective countries; and that continuous efforts had to be made to ensure that the bilateral relations resulted not only short term but also long term benefits; as the daily number of returnees from Thailand was about some thousands, both governments have to work seriously in this issue; under these circumstances, it was possible to forge good bilateral relations; that Myanmar ambassador to China has said that Chinese friends and government officials had provided help; this was a good foundation for stronger bilateral relations between the two countries.
With respect to ROK, there were people who wanted to come to Myanmar and there were also Myanmar people who wanted to go to ROK; thus embassies of both countries had to do coordination; and that diplomats have heavy duties.
She said she wished to thank all three Myanmar ambassadors who had participated in the videoconference and all personnel of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA); she was very grateful because all concerned were working energetically and with enthusiasm. She ended by sending her good wishes to all embassy families and wished all the ambassador good health.— MNA(Translated by Kyaw Myaing)