Friday, May 12, 2017

Tatmadaw’s goal is to restore national peace and end socio-economic hardships

Senior General Min Aung Hlaing receives President Mr. Peter Maurer of ICRC based in Geneva.

Nay Pyi Taw, May 13

Activities of the International Committee of the Red Cross-ICRC in the conflict zones amidst the socio-economic hardships are appreciated. Hence the Tatmadaw is lending a helping hand to end those hardships. We are striving to restore national peace as it is one of the basic factors for the disappearance of socio-economic hardships. Peace will end hardships and our goal is to achieve peace and end hardships, said Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing at his meeting with a delegation led by President Mr. Peter Maurer of ICRC based in Geneva at Bayintnaung Parlour here at 10 am yesterday.

Present at the call together with the Senior General were Chief of the General Staff (Army, Navy and Air) General Mya Tun Oo and senior military officers of the Office of the Commander-in-Chief (Army). The ICRC president was accompanied by Resident Representative Mr.Juerg Montani and party.

At the call, the Senior General said that ICRC is famous for its services in the global interest. In Myanmar the ICRC is carrying out lots of operations in which the Tatmadaw is rendering a helping hand.

The ICRC president said it has been over 30 years since the ICRC is working in Myanmar. It started extending its functions significantly five years ago, opening ten branches and assigning over 500 staffs. Particularly, it is implementing tasks in Kachin, Shan and Rakhine states through constructive approach. The nature of ICRC is unique when compared with other organizations. He said he saw special progress of its functions in Myanmar. Economic progress leads to further national development, helping reduce the tensions of armed conflicts. ICRC acknowledges the significant role of the Tatmadaw. He expressed satisfaction and thanks for its cooperation with the ICRC, saying ICRC wants to further promote relations and cooperation with the Tatmadaw at all levels. The ICRC president continued to say that they would like to receive help to visit conflict areas and that cooperation would be made in clearing land mines, restoring physical health and assembling artificial legs and limbs.

In his discussion, the Senior General said many young people are familiar with activities of the Red Cross. Tatmadawmen are also receiving first aid training. The three duties of the Tatmadaw are to defend the country, to train and to carry out public welfare tasks. Red Cross activities are concerned with public welfare. Such Red Cross activities are interesting but they are being done to meet the requirements of the State. So, great care is necessary so that political issues cannot get involved. It is good to see such activities being done in a constructive manner in order to resolve socio-economic crisis. Visiting conflict areas needs the consent of local authorities and security. There are weak disciplines, according to the nature of insurgent groups. In 2015, a company commander of the Red Cross Society was shot dead by insurgents when he was participating in rescue work in the northeastern part by flying a Red Cross flag in the battlefield. The Tatmadaw will coordinate as much as it could if the relevant government organizations accept it.

Regarding the ICRC’s humanitarian aid, the Senior General said, aid really should go to needy people. In some cases, they did not receive relief items on the ground and later they were recovered from insurgents .The Tatmadaw is born of the people and servicemen joined the Tatmadaw of their own volition. Therefore, they are not mercenaries. The Tatmadaw is not an organization that wants to see the people in trouble. Based on experiences gained, the Senior General said, insurgents are found to be dishonest. They open camps disguised as places for refugees, regard local people as human shield and keep opening IDP camps unnecessarily to receive aid though refugees should be released. Meanwhile, some refugees want to stay in camps for various reasons. It is therefore necessary to deal with IDP issues with care and consideration, commented the Senior General.

With regard to the Rakhine State issue, the Senior General explained problems occuring between local ethnics and Bengalis in Rakhine region. Although there is no objection on providing necessary humanitarian aid, it needs to compile documents and accounts for provisions. As such, it can identify those who accept the assistance will be good or bad. After the event which happened in Rakhine State in October 2016, about 30 persons were killed and about 10 persons went missing. Many persons were wounded, and some events were harmful to security measures. Therefore, the ICRC needs to contact the regional government, relevant ministries and commissions. The Tatmadaw on its part will render assistance to the ICRC as much as it can.

Regarding the relationship arena the ICRC discussed, the Tatmadaw will cooperate with the authorities in assigning contact persons for relationship and carrying out mine clearance tasks. It is important to carry out tasks on the correct way. In respect of fitting the artificial limbs, it needs to give priority to fit artificial limbs to the injured persons from armed ethnic organizations and civilians.

Then, the president of the ICRC requested the Senior General to allow the staff of the ICRC to work in the places with high tension of conflicts in Myanmar as they have work experience in the areas with high risks of security such as in Syrian, Sudan and Yemen. With regard to the discussion of the ICRC President, the Senior General said that these countries are facing civil wars. Ethnics’ armed conflicts happen in some remote areas, not civil wars in Myanmar, causing political impacts. As various kinds of internal and international organizations are behind these armed conflicts, situation may be much complicated. The Tatmadaw will carry out for its best as much as it can with the use of advice from local administrative bodies, relevant ministries and local military commanders.

With regard to IDP camps, the Senior General discussed Myanmar mainly aims to achieve peace. It will be the best for restoring peace and carrying out development of socio-economy of the residents.

After the meeting, the Senior General presented gifts to the President of the ICRC.


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