President’s Office Criticizes UN Statement on Arakan State

By The Irrawaddy 12 December 2016

RANGOON — The President’s Office has said that a statement made by the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advisor on Burma does not reflect reality.

In a statement released on Friday, Vijay Nambiar, Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on Burma, said State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi should listen to her “inner voice” and ask the people of Burma “to rise above their ethnic, religious and other differences and to advance human dignity, harmony and mutual cooperation between all communities.”

“I also appeal to Daw Suu to visit Maungdaw and Buthidaung [townships] and reassure the civilian population there that they will be protected,” he said.

U Zaw Htay, the President’s Office spokesperson, said the statement ignores what has happened on the ground, referring to a series of militant attacks that killed nine policemen and saw ammunition looted.

“Vijay Nambiar’s statement fails to reflect the causes of what of is happening here,” he said. “I don’t see any positive approach in his statement.”

He added that urging a country’s leader to do something was an act of interference, according to media reports.

“We’ve already got an investigation commission for Rakhine [Arakan] State. The leader of the commission—the vice president—will be there. Another leader will tour the area if needed. If Daw Aung San Suu Kyi doesn’t think it’s necessary, she will not visit the area,” he said.

Arakan State Investigation Commission members led by Vice President U Myint Swe toured Maungdaw on Sunday to conduct an investigation on the ground in relation to militant attacks and allegations of rape and arson in the area over the last two months.

On Friday, 14 foreign embassies in Burma released a joint statement as well, urging the government to resume all aid to northern Arakan State. The statement from the embassies of Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States noted that “tens of thousands of people who need humanitarian aid, including children with acute malnutrition, have been without it now for nearly two months.”