Union Minister U Kyaw Tin delivers statement at Preparatory Ministerial Meeting of 18th Summit of Non-Aligned Movement held in Baku, Azerbaijan

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Union MInister U Kyaw Tin delivers the statement at the Preparatory Ministerial Meeting of the 18th Non-Aligned Movement on 23 October in Baku, Azerbaijan. Photo:MNA

Union Minister for International Cooperation U Kyaw Tin made a statement at the first session of the Preparatory Ministerial Meeting of the 18th Non-Aligned Movement held on 23 October 2019 in Baku, Azerbaijan, emphasising on the need to strengthen unity of the Movement to respond to the challenges of the contemporary world and the need to settle bilateral issues among member States in an amicable and friendly manner.
In his statement, the Union Minister recalled that the Non-Aligned Movement was founded at the height of the Cold War based on the Bandung Principles and Myanmar was among the five countries which had sponsored the Bandung Conference in 1955. The founding fathers had envisaged a peaceful and prosperous world and a just and equitable order where states can determine independently their own destinies. Since then, the world has undergone far-reaching changes following the end of the Cold War. But, the fundamental principles of the Movement remain valid today in the inter-State relations. The Bandung spirit that had waned after the end of Cold War must be revitalised to the benefit of all member States. To that end, it is important for all to remain committed to those core principles, especially the principles of respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity, justice, equality and mutual respect among nations without interfering in the internal affairs of another country or using pressure against another country and settlement of disputes by peaceful means. The recent resurgence of new kind of cold war shaped by the geopolitical power competition and ongoing trade and technology war has once again pointed to the greater need to revive and strengthen the unity of the Non-Aligned Movement to collectively respond to the emerging challenges.
Union Minister U Kyaw Tin pointed out that the dream of the Movement to enjoy the right to determine their own destiny or resolve their own internal problems in their own way is still far from realization. The power of globalization made the national boundaries blurred and encroached upon the sovereignty and independence of nations. The tendency to such encroachment was most visible in the area of protection of human rights. The present world order is replete with unfairness, injustice and inequalities, double standards, imbalances in global economic order which have exacerbated the development gap. Unbalanced reporting of the world media monopolised by the rich and powerful and suppression of the views of less developed countries are negatively influencing the shaping of policy decisions. To strengthen the unity of the NAM, it is important not to allow anyone to misuse the Movement to serve one’s own political purposes. The Movement needs to strengthen the unity and solidarity among its diverse membership in order to adequately respond the global challenges facing the Movement. To that end, it is of paramount importance that any issue between the member States of the Movement must be resolved bilaterally in an amicable and friendly manner and to avoid taking up sensitive country specific issues into the debate of the Movement. Trying to understand each other’s challenges and complexities is the key to building better relations between the member states.
Union Minister also rebutted to the remarks made by Bangladeshi Foreign Minister on Rakhine issue, highlighting that the issue of Rakhine is not an issue of religious persecution. It is absolutely not an issue of driving an ethnic group out of the country, as wrongfully alleged. Myanmar strongly objected to the labelling the issue as ethnic cleansing or genocide by Bangladesh. In fact, it is a political and economic issue involving cross-border migration since colonial time when immigrants from Bengal, mainly from Chittagong Region, were transferred en masse by the British colonial power into western townships of Rakhine for expanding rice productions. There was also another wave of mass migration across the porous border during the fight for Bangladesh’s independence in 1971. The migration problem was also compounded by the poverty, lack of rule of law and security. There has been deep rooted history of tensions, mutual mistrust and fear between the local ethnic communities and the migrant community. What is happening in the northern tip of Rakhine does not represent the whole country. In the remaining areas across the country, people of different faiths are living in harmony. Religious building and edifices of different faiths stand side by side in many cities of Myanmar. Myanmar fully shares the concern over the plight of all communities affected by the violence. It is important not to overlook the fact that the violence was ignited by provocative attacks by ARSA terror group against multiple police outposts in October 2016 and again in August 2017. The violence was committed by both sides and affected all communities.
The Union Minister reiterated Myanmar government’s full commitment to finding sustainable solution that will lead to peace, stability and development for all the people in Rakhine State. The most pressing task between the two neighbours is to work together under the agreed mechanisms to remove all the obstacles hindering the repatriation. Myanmar has stated over and over again its readiness to receive all the displaced persons who have already been verified as former residents in Rakhine State. Since this is a migrant-related issue, this issue needs to be resolved bilaterally with Bangladesh. If both neighbours follow strictly the bilateral arrangement signed between the two countries, the repatriation process will be successful as it has been done in 1992. The main obstacle is the presence of hardliner groups and ARSA terror groups inside the camps in the Cox’s Bazaar who do not want repatriation but exert international pressure to advance their political agenda. He hoped that Bangladesh would not turn a blind eye to their presence in the camps. They are taking hostages the displaced persons to reach their political goals, by intimidating those advocating for return. Regardless of their threats, over 350 displaced persons have already come back. The other day, 29 more returnees have just returned to Rakhine State on their own volition. They have resumed their lives in conditions of safety and dignity. Despite Myanmar’s repeated request, Bangladesh has not sent back 444 Hindu displaced persons who have clearly expressed their desire to return. The Government of Myanmar is creating a conducive environment for the returnees in cooperation with the UN agencies as well as with our ASEAN friends, as well as, our traditional development partners in our region and beyond. The issue of Rakhine is a very complex, complicated one that requires time and space to educate the people and to build trust and harmony among the communities. Myanmar stands ready to resolve the issue with the cooperation of Bangladesh based on the bilateral agreement signed between Myanmar and Bangladesh.
The 18th Summit of the Movement will be held on 25-26 October in Baku, Azerbaijan, according to Ministry of International Cooperation.—MNA

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