Arakan Commission Calls Meeting With Burma Army ‘Highly Productive’

By Moe Myint 16 May 2017

RANGOON – Arakan State Advisory Commission member Al Haj U Aye Lwin said a meeting between Burma Army Chief of General Staff Lt-Gen Mya Tun Oo and the commission was “highly productive.”

‘‘The army promised that it would help in whatever the advisory commission needed. There were no objections or negative comments during the meeting,” said U Aye Lwin.

The meeting was held with Lt-Gen Mya Tun Oo in Naypyidaw on Monday.

Commission member Dr. Tha Hla Shwe said the army gave its comments on the interim report, which was launched in March.

Al Haj U Aye Lwin told The Irrawaddy over the phone on Tuesday that the meeting took place in line with government protocol, but that the leaders of both sides have been in direct contact throughout the process.

Before the meeting with army generals, the commission also met with the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) on Sunday. But the party refused to make recommendations to the commission, still objecting to its formation and international involvement in internal affairs.

U Aye Lwin said the rejection was overstated and that despite a lack of official party response, the USDP chairman and central executive committee members shared their experience regarding the issues in Arakan State.

He added that the USDP has rejected the overall formation of the commission so was choosing not to release official party stances regarding a commission they do not recognize.

Al Haj U Aye Lwin said the army reiterated that the current ground situation in Arakan State was still unsafe, in reference to the continued limited access to humanitarian assistance groups and media.

The army general also claimed during the meeting that the army had halted counterinsurgency operations and handed security matters in Arakan State over to the home affairs ministry and local law enforcement.

According to commission members, he also discussed the controversial citizenship application process, which has left the Rohingya Muslims in the region stateless and in apartheid-like conditions.

The commission will submit a final report to the government in August.

CORRECTION: This article was edited to correct erroneous information that the commission had initially intended to meet with Burma Army commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing.