Union Ministers hold diplomatic briefing on recent political developments in Myanmar

Union Minister for Foreign Affairs U Wunna Maung Lwin and Union Minister for International Cooperation U Ko Ko Hlaing held a diplomatic briefing via videoconferencing on the recent political developments in Myanmar yesterday.
It was joined by the ambassadors of foreign embassies, diplomats and heads of UN agencies.
In his keynote speech, Union Minister said: After scrutinizing the UEC’s official voter list, Tatmadaw found out that over 10.4 million votesmight have been rigged in the recent Election. That amount is one-fourth of the eligible voters. On several occasions, the Tatmadaw has officially pointed out those findings. It also officially issued figures/tables on the findings for 30 times, statements on its position two times before the Election and four times after the Election. The voter lists should be based on family household registrations of the 2014 census and 2019 preliminary census.
He added that due to such irregularities in the electoral processes, 20 political parties issued 26 statements calling for the postponement of the Third Hluttaw Session until the voter lists in question are properly solved by the UEC.
The UEC’s failure to address to these calls resulted in 124 protests in 99 townships during the period between 10 November 2020 and 29 January 2021.
The Tatmadaw issued the Statements by before and after the Election to address the electoral irregularities.
Instructions and actions of the UEC were not in accord with and violated the existing laws since the pre and post-election period.
The UEC repeatedly rejected the Tatmadaw’s calls for scrutinizing election-related documents in line with the existing laws.
On 11 January 2021, some 203 Hluttaw Representatives from political parties and from the Tatmadaw officially proposed to convene a Special Session of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw in accordance with the State Constitution 2008. However, the proposal was rejected the next day, 12 January 2021.
The Tatmadaw and some political parties requested that the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw or the Government or the UEC address the voting irregularity issues. The Tatmadaw’s intention was to achieve the credible election results that truly reflect the will of the people. Unfortunately, the requests were denied.
The Tatmadaw also called for the convening of the meeting of the National Defence and Security Council two times, which is led by the President.
The Tatmadaw undertook the above-mentioned tasks in accord with existing laws and procedures, including the State Constitution 2008, particularly Chapter I, Section 4, Section 6 and Section 7 of the State Constitution.
Section 4 stipulates that “The Sovereign power of the Union is derived from the citizens and is in force in the entire country”. Amongst the six Basic Principles of the Constitution, Section 6 (d) stipulates “flourishing of a genuine, disciplined multi-party democratic system” and Section 6 (f) mentions “enabling the Defence Services to be able to participate in the national political leadership role of the State”. In addition, Section 7 also stipulates that “The Union practises genuine, disciplined multiparty democratic system”.
The rejection of the previous government to take action on repeated calls to address voting irregularities and holding of Hluttaw meetings which was called by at least 25 % of members of Parliament clearly violated Section 417 of the State Constitution 2008. Their actions were tantamount to the attempt to take the sovereignty of the Union by wrongful forcible means and to disintegrate the national unity.
Therefore, the Ordinance No. 1/2021 on 1 February 2021 was promulgated in accordance with Section 417 of the State Constitution 2008.The state of emergency was declared in the entire nation for one year with immediate effect. The legislative, executive and judicial powers of the State were transferred to the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services in accordance with Section 418 (a) of the State Constitution.
Regarding the peacemaking efforts, the Tatmadaw has already issued a statement related to the further suspension of all military operations with the exception of national defence and administrative measures, effective 1-28 February 2021.
The Peace Dialogue Committee of the Tatmadaw is tasked to continue negotiations with both the NCA signatories and non-signatories of ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) aiming to achieve durable peace in the country.
Recently, the Peace Dialogue Committee has been re-constituted comprising of seven members, led by Lt-Gen Yar Pyae.
It is expected that peace dialogues with the ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) will lead to the signing of the NCA by EAOs who have yet to sign.
As regards the handling of COVID-19 pandemic, Myanmar, like other countries, will continue to exert utmost efforts to overcome the health and socio-economic challenges, and to mitigate the negative socio-economic impact on the livelihoods of the people for economic recovery.
In this respect, the Government will pay great emphasis on agro-industry that is heavily relied by the rural people which is about 70 per cent of the country’s population, the creation of employment opportunity, the re-opening of factories, the distribution of protective health items for control of COVID-19.
The Government will also work for the resumption of domestic travels and opening of hotels, beefing up the COVID-19 containment methods and awareness programmes, if necessary, will also ensure the safety of the foreign nationals currently residing in the country including diplomats and the UN personnel, will continue to work on the already-launched COVID-19 vaccination programme with added momentum, and will also continue to procure the vaccine through bilateral commercial arrangements and the COVAX Facility.
The relief flights are resumed, and plans are underway to expand the frequency of relief flights and other means such as sending vessels to repatriate our nationals stranded abroad.
On Foreign Policy, the Government will continue to practise the existing policy, that is, independent, active and non-aligned foreign policy, aiming at world peace and friendly relations with nations, and will uphold the principles of peaceful co-existence amongst nations.
The Government will also maintain friendly relations with countries of the world, particularly with neighbouring countries based on mutual respect and understanding.
He emphasized the importance of adhering to the Charter of the United Nations, particularly Article 2, paragraph 7 which clearly stipulates that “Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter”.
Myanmar also reaffirms to continue to actively participate in the regional and multilateral organizations, such as the UN, ASEAN, BIMSTEC and Mekong-related organizations and to facilitate the assistance activities extended to the people of Myanmar.
The Government also reaffirms the commitment to honouring the existing bilateral and multilateral agreements in line with our national interest and international obligations.
In concluding remark, he said that the Tatmadaw had assumed State responsibilities with effect on 1 February 2021 in accordance with the State Constitution 2008 in order to address the electoral irregularities at the General Election held on 8 November 2020.
He added that during this interim period, all the steps taken by the Tatmadaw were strictly in line with existing laws, the State Constitution 2008 in particular. The previous government and the UEC’s refusals to address the electoral issues repeatedly pointed out by the Tatmadaw led to a political impasse. Consequently, the Tatmadaw had no other choice but to invoke Section 418 of the State Constitution 2008 to assume State responsibilities.
The Tatmadaw will assign independent and non-bias personnel to formally scrutinize the electoral irregularities and frauds. Then, Tatmadaw will hold a credible multiparty democracy general election in a free and fair manner and transfer State power to the winning political party.
As a matter of fact, the Tatmadaw has taken necessary steps with an aim to consolidate the genuine, disciplined multiparty democratic system that suits the prevailing situations of the country as aspired to by the people of Myanmar.
Finally, he talked about peace and the consolidation of democracy in Myanmar, looking forward to receiving understanding, supports and constructive cooperation of the international community.
Union Minister U Ko Ko Hlaing said: Myanmar will continue to pursue independent, active and non-aligned foreign policy and upholds the principles of peaceful co-existence as stipulated in the 2008 Constitution.
The Government reaffirms continued cooperation with the United Nations, ASEAN, international and regional organizations in line with the existing laws, national priorities and needs. As a responsible member of the UN and the international community, Myanmar will continue to cooperate with the United Nations and the policy of cooperation will remain unchanged.
Therefore, Myanmar will extend its continuous cooperation with the UN, ASEAN, WFP, ICRC and other developing partners. An MoU signed between the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population and UNDP and UNHCR will be implemented.
The Government will also proceed to fulfil the obligations under the United Nations. Such obligations include performing duties as a State Party to international human rights treaties, treaties relating to Labour Rights and etc.
To fulfil the treaties obligations, the process to submit the initial report of ICESCR will be conducted, and the implementation of ratified treaties will be further carried out for the benefits of people.
To perform effectively and efficiently in fulfilling our tasks, the Government look forward to receiving constructive assistance from our friends and international organizations.
Myanmar is now serving as a member of UNESCO Executive Board, for the period of 2019-2023, and that the Government looks forward to enhancing our cooperation with the UNESCO and ECOSOC as well.
As a Member State of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Myanmar will continue to uphold the purposes and principles enshrined in the ASEAN Charter, and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC).
He also expressed his congratulations to Brunei Darussalam for assuming the Chairmanship of ASEAN for 2021, and Myanmar will work closely with Brunei Darussalam and with all ASEAN Member States in realizing the Chair’s priorities.
The Government is looking forward to actively participate in the planned ASEAN Meetings for this year with a view to continuing to promote ASEAN centrality and unity, to further achieve progress toward ASEAN Community building efforts, and to further enhance relations with ASEAN’s external partners.
Last year was very difficult for all of us due to the unprecedented outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Myanmar acknowledges the collective efforts ASEAN has taken in responding to the challenges in the region and will continue to work with ASEAN and its external partners in the efforts to achieve ASEAN’s COVID-19 response initiatives and recovery efforts, including other initiatives which are fundamental to ASEAN.
Myanmar participates in the 13 major Sub-regional cooperation mechanisms such as Mekong-Lancang Cooperation, Mekong-United States Partnerships, ACMECS, CLMV and will continue the active cooperation.
At this moment, Myanmar has been taking the responsibility of the Co-Chair of Mekong-Lancang Cooperation for the tenure of two years (2020-2022) and will discharge duties in a manner of effectively and efficiently in realizing the dream of peaceful, prospered and sustainably developed Mekong Region.
Myanmar has also been serving as Chair of CLMV (Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Viet Nam Cooperation) for two years (2020-2022). With the Chair’s responsibility of making CLMV Cooperation dynamic, effective and efficient, we will try to serve uplifting the socioeconomic livelihoods of the peoples of the Mekong Region in coordination with the member states and the partners such as ASEAN.
Myanmar also is an active member of BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation).
In conclusion, he said that Myanmar is aware that international community has raised concerns on the current situation of Myanmar.
Being mindful of the negative impacts on the country’s democratization process and recognizing the urgent necessity to act it by lawful means, The Tatmadaw has to take necessary measures in line with the constitutional provisions and existing laws during the interim period. In this regard, the Government expects a full understanding of international community on the existing situation and look forward to their cooperation with the Government for the better interest of the people of Myanmar.
Especially, during this time of the global pandemic, the Government needs the constructive cooperation from friendly countries in endeavours to the provision of health care and COVID-19 related assistance for Myanmar people. In addition, Myanmar will fully cooperate with WHO and Gavi to ensure access to COVID-19 vaccines to all communities within the country.
The Union Minister said that the Government understand the concerns of the international community on the continuation of Myanmar’s democratic transition process, and he reaffirmed that very architect of this process is the Tatmadaw. In fact, the last thing an architect would love to do is to destroy this own structure. He continued to say stability, the rule of law, prosperity and well-being of the people are prerequisites of democratic transition.
He finally said that any reaction from the international and regional organization would take into account of these factors, especially for the well-being of the people and do-no-harm policy under the circumstances of the pandemic.—MNA
(Translated by Aung Khin)

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