New National Security Adviser Discusses Arakan State, Peace Process at First Meeting

By Tin Htet Paing 15 February 2017

RANGOON — The government’s national security adviser U Thaung Tun met with international ambassadors to Burma and diplomats on Wednesday in his first official engagement since his appointment last month “to advise the government on internal and external security threats.”

Minister of the State Counselor’s Office U Kyaw Tint Swe, and Dr. Tin Myo Win, the chair of the government’s Peace Commission, were present at the National Reconciliation and Peace Center (NRPC) in Rangoon for the two-hour meeting.

The meeting was merely to introduce the national security adviser to the diplomats, according to U Aye Lwin—a member of the Peace Commission’s support group—who talked to the media after the meeting.

About 50 representatives—including those from the UN—attended, but full details remain unknown as media access was denied and participants did not talk to the press after the meeting concluded.

According to media in India, U Thaung Tun visited the country earlier this month, and met his counterpart and top security officials to discuss issues related to security and border affairs management.

Diplomatic sources inside the NRPC said that during the Wednesday’s meeting, U Thaung Tun talked about addressing problems in the peace process and in Arakan State.

The sources said that, according to U Thaung Tun, “there was a new phase, with the police replacing the military, and that military clearance operations had come to an end,” in the conflict-torn northern Arakan State, adding that the government took allegations of rape and murder by international human rights watchdogs and the UN “very seriously.”

Sources, however, said that the national security adviser didn’t explain why the police force replaced the military in the Arakan region and when the military clearance operations had ended.

Since coordinated attacks on the border police posts in northern Arakan State in October last year, which resulted in the deaths of 10 security personnel, combined security forces of the military and the police have led clearance operations through the region to capture the attackers and retrieve seized weapons and ammunitions.

The Irrawaddy was not able to verify the information of the meeting with the President Office’s spokesperson and there was no official press statement issued by the government regarding the meeting at the time of publication.