U.N. Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Myanmar Vijay Nambiar has welcomed a recent visit by a high-level delegation led by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to Myanmar's restive Rakhine state, a U.N. press release said on Tuesday.
The delegation which visited Rakhine state, scene of deadly ethnic clashes that displaced thousands of people, also included senior officials of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The visit was in response to an invitation of the Myanmar government.
Recent Clashes between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in the western state of Rakhine have left at least a dozen people dead, hundreds of homes destroyed and at least 64,000 displaced.
"Such positive steps will help support Myanmar's ongoing process of democratization and reform," Nambiar said in a statement, adding that the visit was "significant in the context of international attention to the recent outbreak of violence in that area."
According to the press release, the Turkish delegation visited the camps of both Muslims and Buddhists displaced by the violence, where humanitarian aid provided by Turkey is being distributed. Incidentally, it was the first such assistance accepted by Myanmar other than what was being provided by the U.N.
"This has demonstrated the willingness of the Myanmar government to cooperate with the international community to alleviate the sufferings of its people," Nambiar said, adding that he and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had been in continuous contact with the Myanmar authorities on the matter.
Notably, the Director of Operations for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), John Ging, had warned last week of the rapidly growing needs faced by over half-a-million internally displaced persons in the South Asian nation. He also urged the Myanmar government to give aid agencies access to all areas of the country.
Myanmar, previously known as Burma, has made great strides toward democracy in recent months, including holding free elections to elect a new Parliament, freeing political prisoners and holding talks with ethnic rebel groups present in the countryside. Since assuming power in March 2011, the new government led by Thein Sein has also implemented several reforms demanded by the Opposition and the international community.
One notable stride made by Sein's government was the release from house-arrest of democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi, who won a Parliament seat in the recent byelections. She has now been able to travel freely within the country and abroad, finally accepting a Nobel Peace Prize she was awarded over 20 years ago.
Following the widely acclaimed by-elections and the recently implemented reforms, Western powers, including the United States, Britain, European Union and Australia, have softened their approach toward Myanmar and eased some of their sanctions imposed on the previous military junta.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: email@example.com