UK to Back Burma Peace Efforts

President’s Office Minister Aung Min and his peace delegation meet with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in London this week. (Photo: Hla Maung Shwe / Facebook)

The Burmese government’s top peace negotiator for ethnic conflicts is touring the United Kingdom this week to discuss his country’s peacemaking efforts with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Foreign Secretary William Hague and other UK officials.

President’s Office Minister Aung Min, who leads the Burmese government’s efforts to negotiate ceasefires and peace deals with armed ethnic rebel groups, arrived in London on Tuesday at the invitation of the UK government, according to a statement by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He was joined by Burma’s Immigration Minister Khin Yi and a delegation from the Myanmar Peace Center.

The bilateral talks focused on efforts to secure peace in Burma’s resource-rich ethnic minority states, where armed rebel groups have fought for decades in pursuit of greater political autonomy, and to curb a recent wave of anti-Muslim riots in central Burma.

Officials discussed how British experts could best support further progress in Burma, according to the statement on Tuesday.

“We agreed on the need to take forward negotiations to achieve a permanent ceasefire in Kachin State, and to address the hostility behind the recent outbreak of anti-Muslim violence in Meiktila,” Hague said in the statement, referring to a town in central Burma’s Mandalay Division where anti-Muslim riots began last month, killing at least 43 people and leaving thousands displaced.  “The British Government will continue to support work bringing different faith communities in Burma together.”

Officials also discussed strategies to improve conditions in Arakan State, west Burma, where more than 120,000 people were displaced in communal violence between Buddhists and Muslims last year.

“We discussed the serious humanitarian situation in Rakhine [Arakan] State and the importance of ensuring that the Rohingya [Muslim] community, which has lived in Burma for many centuries, is accorded full citizenship rights in line with international standards,” the British foreign minister said in the statement.

Hague commended Aung Min for his role in promoting change in the Southeast Asian country, which has signed ceasefires with 10 of 11 major armed ethnic minority groups since a nominally civilian government came to power two years ago.

“It was a pleasure to welcome His Excellency Aung Min to the United Kingdom, and to congratulate him on his role in the remarkable changes we have seen in Burma,” he said.

“Last week G8 [Group of Eight] foreign ministers endorsed the Burmese Government’s commitment to responsible investment, and today I made clear that the British Government will continue to do all it can to encourage Burma’s transition to a free and prosperous society.”

During the visit, Aung Min told the London-based BBC that he and his peace delegation would hold peace talks with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), one of the country’s strongest armed ethnic groups, in the Kachin State capital of Myitkyina after returning from Europe.

He told the news agency that gunfire had ceased in Burma’s northernmost state and that he hoped the upcoming meeting with Kachin rebel leaders would be successful.

Representatives from the European Union, the United Nations and the United States could attend the upcoming meetings as international observers, he added, but they would have no right to participate in the discussions.

Aung Min and the Myanmar Peace Center delegation, including Hla Maung Shwe and Dr. Kyaw Yin Hlaing, also visited Ireland on Thursday to learn about the peace process there.

Next week Aung Min will travel to the United States to meet with members of the Burmese community and accept a peace prize from the International Crisis Group on behalf of Burma’s President Thein Sein.


10 Responses to UK to Back Burma Peace Efforts

  1. We hail the good news of ” UK to back Burma peace effort”. With the help of EU,UK, & US, Burma will be on the road to peace and prosperity.

  2. “Next week Aung Min will travel to the United States to meet with members of the Burmese community and accept a peace prize from the International Crisis Group on behalf of Burma’s President Thein Sein.”
    I can not believe that how international crisis group is very very poor standard in the world in their role ( lack of ethics , lack of moral , lack of education, lack of knowledge, neglecting killing Muslim by than shwe and his puppet , thein sein. )

  3. “I believe Tony Blair is an out-and-out rascal, terminally untrustworthy and close to being unhinged. I said from the start that there was something wrong in his head, and each passing year convinces me more strongly that this man is a pathological confidence-trickster. To the extent that he even believes what he says, he is delusional. To the extent that he does not, he is an actor whose first invention — himself — has been his only interesting role.”
    Matthew Parris, The Times,

  4. This must be a first in the history of the world to engage in jaw jaw at the same time as war war. What’s with the cronies, Western trained policy wonks and now the old colonial master when all you need is the political will? Good PR and junkets for ex-military and colleagues of current genocidal military types, now receiving international peace awards even before the blood of monks has dried on their hands. Wonderful convergence of interests and excellent newfound prodigy for Master Shifu types.

  5. Birds with the same beak flock together. Birds with the same feather fly together. Nations with the same political system work together. Burma must look West for many reason if she is serious for democratic changes.

  6. BUSH AND BLAIR ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR MUSLIM BASHING…….
    THE AFTER EFFECT OF INVATION OF IRAQ AND AFGHANISTANT; WORLD OVER
    WHAT A SHAME?

  7. Aung Ming led delegation are in Europe,taking advantage of travel ban on them, which recently lifted. to me surprise radical like khin yi in group will promote racism as he is doing back home.Europe, Blood and religion is not matter validity for citizen,5 years residency without crime is enough to claim stake holder of nation.unlike Burma where thousand years residency not enough to be ethnic,citizen for Myanmar Muslim, rohingya because of their religion. rohingya ethnicity in parliamentary period assure then annulling by force since 1982 is mockery of regime.current regime is promoting their mocker-ism through out the world tar-getting Muslim in Myanmar.i think British, western host will laugh at our delegation on issue of ethnicity of rohingya,which British have record in files.name of peace with ethnic like kachin is fake propaganda ,where aerial bombing ,ground attacking, merciless killing intensifying.

    Meeting negotiation with ethnic for peace is just show case for international community,actual peace,democracy,development never wanted by brutal Burma regime.they have their expectation lift sanction,financial package ,event noble prize nomination for our POL POT thein sein.why international crisis group awarded peace prize to our new pol pot thien sien , who racist,murderer Quietly committing genocide against rohingya in rakhine and Myanmar Muslim in central Burma.is this reward for crime committed against humanity or for encourage more brutal massacre against Muslim in Burma.this leaders do not deserve for peace reward,they deserve arrest warrant from ICC,INTERPOL for crime they committed in the country.

  8. Only two things stand out from this article. One is ” …ensuring that the Rohingya [Muslim] community, which has lived in Burma for many centuries, is accorded full citizenship rights”, and the other,”…commended Aung Min for his role in promoting change in the Southeast Asian country”. A very clever bargain from our dear colonial ex-masters.

  9. As a nation the Burmese should be ashamed, the butchering of defenceless women and children unforgivable, the silence of the Aung sang su kyi speaks volumes. Whether it is the Muslims or indeed the Christians in the north and east, what has been done to these people is shameless.

    For a nation that is proud to be Buddhist and the enshrines the virtues of the Buddha, the image of serene and humble monks leading and engaging in savagery has single handily destroyed the reputation of this great religion, ironic a key character in this repugnant set of events chooses to call himself the Buddhist bin laden !! Particularly as the fate of the real bin laden was death!! I could only wish this would be a slow and gruesome end for him.

    If anything, recent history has demonstrated such butchers of such wars (Yugoslavia, Burundi, Rwanda, and Iraq) have all been bought to justice…

    Sanctions being lifted was a great mistake and rewards the Burmese for crimes against humanity and genocide, funny the otherwise elusive Nobel prize winner was quick to welcome this but is not able to speak out against savagery being commited

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