Union Minister U Kyaw Tin meets with EU Trade Commissioner, discusses matters related to GSP Scheme
The Myanmar delegation led by Union Minister for International Cooperation U Kyaw Tin arrived back this afternoon after attending the 22nd ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting which was held in Brussels, Belgium on 21 January 2019.
The Meeting was co-chaired by Mr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Singapore as a Country Coordinator of the ASEAN-EU Dialogue Relations and Mrs. FedericaMogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission. The Meeting was attended by the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN and the European Union.
During the Meeting, the Ministers reviewed the ASEAN-EU Dialogue Relations and exchanged views on matters related to cooperation on regional and international issues, recent developments in ASEAN and the EU, and elevation of the ASEAN-EU Dialogue Relations to a Strategic Partnership.
At the Lunch Retreat Session, the Union Minister updated the Meeting on the recent developments in Rakhine State in an informal setting. In his briefing, the Union Minister informed the Meeting of the cooperation between Myanmar and ASEAN in facilitating the repatriation process, preparations made by Myanmar for return of the verified displaced persons in accordance with the bilateral agreements between Myanmar and Bangladesh, progress of the implementation of the MoU between Myanmar, the UNHCR and UNDP and ongoing work of the Independent Commission of Enquiry (ICOE) to address the issue of accountability.
Regarding the cooperation with ASEAN, the Union Minister informed that the TOR of the AHA Needs Assessment Team was adopted during the visit of the ASEAN Secretary-General to Myanmar andthe AHA Needs Assessment Team will conductthe preliminary needs assessment as well as the comprehensive needs assessment once the repatriation commences to identify possible areas of cooperation to facilitate the repatriation process. He also added thatthe AHA Centre will also provide Capacity Building Programme related to disaster management.
Furthermore, the Union Minister updated the Meeting thatthe Myanmar side has recently provided additional list of 603 verified displaced persons to the Bangladesh side and urged for the earliest resumption of the work for repatriation process.
The Union Minister also informedof the progress of the work of the ICOE which has been conducting evidence-based investigation independently andhas publicly invited submissions to provide evidence of alleged human rights violations. The ICOE has also proposed to visit Cox’s Bazar for evidence collection. He also informed of the continued provision of humanitarian assistance by the Government as well as by the ICRC and WFP despite temporary restriction on the works of the UN and INGOs in some areas of Rakhine State due to security concern.
At the Plenary Session, the Union Minister led discussion on the Agenda of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) and strengthening of cooperation with the European Union in the implementation of the IAI Work Plan III. The IAI was launched in 2000 aiming at narrowing the development gap within ASEAN to facilitate the ASEAN Community building and the integration process.
On the sidelines of the 22nd ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting, the Union Minister had separate bilateral meetings with Mr. Didier Reynders, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs of the Kingdom of Belgium, Mr. TomašPetříček, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Mr. Heiko Maas, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mr. Peter Szijjarto, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary and Mr. Stef Blok, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands where they cordially exchanged views on matters of mutual interest, strengthening of the existing bilateral relations and cooperation as well as recent developments surrounding Rakhine State.
The Union Minister also met with Ms. Cecilia Malmstrom, EU Commissioner for Trade and exchanged views on promotion of trade and investment between Myanmar and the EU as well as on the review process on EU’s GSP/EBA Scheme for Myanmar. At the meeting, the Union Minister pointed out the affects of the EU’s withdrawal of the Scheme including negativesocio-economic impacts on vulnerable people especially employees of garment industry and their dependents. He also briefed on the progress made by Myanmar in promoting human rights, and protecting labour and child rights and arrangements made for the visit of the EU trade delegation to Myanmar for third round of negotiation in February. He also apprised the Commissioner onMyanmar’s efforts to address the issue of Rakhine State including its repeated calls to Bangladesh for the earliest commencent of the repatriation process in accordance with the bilateral agreements. He also explained aboutthe existing arrangements toprovide humanitarian assistance to theIDPs despite recent incidents in Rakhine State.