Union Minister U Kyaw Tin delivers Statement at 18th Summit of Non-Aligned Movement held in Baku

Union Minister U Kyaw Tin attends the 18th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Baku, Azerbaijan from 25 to 26 October. Photo: MNA
Union Minister U Kyaw Tin attends the 18th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Baku, Azerbaijan from 25 to 26 October. Photo: MNA

Union Minister for International Cooperation U Kyaw Tin participated at the 18th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement held in Baku, Azerbaijan from 25 to 26 October 2019 and delivered a statement in the debate of the Summit on 26 October 2019 calling for the need for all member states to safeguard and abide by the founding principles, ideals and purposes of the Movement to achieve peace and development, justice and equality for all countries. He also apprised the Meeting of the developments in democratic transition in his country and Myanmar’s position on the issue of Rakhine State.
At the Summit, Azerbaijan took over the Chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement from the Bolivian Republic of Venezuela and assumed the Chairmanship of the Movement for the term 2019-2022. The Summit was attended by the Heads of State and Government and high-level officials from 72 Member States of the Movement, representatives from 20 observer states and organizations, and 20 countries and 31 international organizations as special guests.
In his statement made by the Union Minister at the second session of the NAM Summit held on 26-10-2019 under the theme “Upholding the Bandung Principles to ensure concerted and adequate response to the challenges of contemporary world”, the Union Minister stated that the Non-Aligned Movement, representing two-third of the UN members and more than half of the humanity, has the great potential to play a more effective and important role in responding to the numerous challenges facing the world today. One of its major achievements was its political and moral drive to the decolonisation process that led to the emergence of many independent countries present at the meeting. The founding fathers had envisaged a peaceful and prosperous world and a just and equitable order where states can determine independently their own destinies. Myanmar, the then Burma, was among the five countries that co-sponsored the Bandung Conference. Successive governments in Myanmar had consistently pursued the non-alignment as a key component of their Foreign Policy. Thanks to its positive neutrality and non-aligned foreign policy, Myanmar had been able to enjoy close and friendly relations with all countries including major powers in the post independence period. Being a founding member of the Movement, Myanmar reaffirms today its unwavering faith in the fundamental principles of the Movement, particularly respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations; refraining from interference in the internal affairs of another country; settlement of disputes by peaceful means; and refraining from acts of aggression or threats or the use of force against any country. The world has undergone profound changes since NAM was founded.
He added that the members of the movement are still struggling with complex challenges in this uncertain world which include injustice of the world order, impacts of climate change, poverty, rise of protectionism, violent extremism, terrorism, unilateral economic sanctions and monopolisation of the world media by the rich and powerful. It is crucial more than ever that all member states stand united together to safeguard and abide by the founding principles, ideals and purposes of our Movement to achieve peace and development, justice and equality for all countries the world over.
With regard to the developments in Myanmar, the Union Minister explained that Myanmar has started to enjoy greater freedom and democratic rights since the emergence of a democratically elected civilian government just over three and a half years ago. Since taking office, the civilian Government has set national priorities, which include national reconciliation and peace, democratisation and development as well as seeking a long lasting solution for the complex issue of communal tensions in Rakhine State. Within just 3-year transition, significant improvements have been made in many areas including health, education, socio-economic sectors, infrastructure development and most visibly, prevalence of greater freedom and democratic rights in the country. According to the World Bank forecast, Myanmar’s economy will grow 6.6 percent next year becoming one of the fastest growing economies in the Southeast Asia. Tourist arrival has risen 25 percent thanks to visa liberalisation measures. As Myanmar opens its economy, Myanmar is among the World Bank’s top 20 countries for most improved ease of doing business attributing to its initiatives that enhanced its business environment. But, the nascent democratic transition of Myanmar is still yet incomplete, struggling with numerous challenges including amending the undemocratic Constitution, continued ethnic armed conflicts and old and new complex issues in Rakhine State. Regardless of the challenges, the Government has also been steadfast in pursuing the world’s most complicated peace process involving numerous Ethnic Armed Organisations to foster a lasting peace in the country through the holding of 21st Century Panglong Peace Conference.
With regard to the issue of Rakhine State, Union Minister stressed that itis just one of those many challenges in our nascent transition. This problem should thus be viewed from a broader perspective of Myanmar’s complex and incomplete democratic transition. Rakhine problem is not a religious issue as widely mischaracterized.
It is, in fact, a political and economic issue involving lack of development and irregular migration across the porous border since colonial time. We should not therefore overlook the involvement of elements of terrorism in creating this humanitarian problem and the sufferings of both communities including the local ethnic minorities. Myanmar has stated over and over again its readiness to take back all those who have been verified as residents of Myanmar. The main obstacle for repatriation is the killings and threats by ARSA on the displaced persons advocating for or willing to return. Myanmar needs its neighbour Bangladesh’s cooperation to address this issue. ARSA terror groups do not want repatriation but international pressure on Myanmar to advance their political agenda. Despite those threats, some 350 displaced people from Cox’s Bazar have voluntarily returned on their own arrangement.
They have resumed their lives in Rakhine State in conditions of safety and dignity without any security concern. On its part, Myanmar is creating a conducive environment for the returnees in cooperation not only with the relevant UN agencies, but also with its ASEAN friends, as well as, its traditional development partners in the region and beyond. Myanmar stands ready to resolve the issue with the cooperation of Bangladesh based on the agreed bilateral arrangements with a good neighbourly spirit. Myanmar wishes to express its appreciation to those NAM member states and other partners who have lent their constructive support to Myanmar in its efforts to bring peace, democracy and development to Myanmar.
The Summit adopted the Final Document, Baku Declaration and Declaration on Palestine. The Summit was preceded by Preparatory Senior Officials Meeting on 21 and 22 October and Preparatory Ministerial Meeting on 23 and 24 October 2019 in Baku, Azerbaijan.The Union Minister also made a statement at the first session of the Preparatory Ministerial Meeting held on 23-10-2019.
While in Baku, the Union Minister held bilateral meeting with H.E. Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister of India and matters pertaining to improving bilateral cooperation were discussed, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.—MNA

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