UN chief calls in­ter­faith meet­ing on side­lines of peace con­fer­ence

The Myanmar Times - - News - SHOON NAING news­room@mm­times.com

UN Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Ban Ki-moon has in­vited reli­gious lead­ers to an in­ter­faith meet­ing in Nay Pyi Taw later this week.

The hour-long dis­cus­sion will take place at Kempin­ski Ho­tel in Nay Pyi Taw on the morn­ing of Au­gust 31, ac­cord­ing to the in­vi­ta­tion sent out by the For­eign Min­istry. The UN sec­re­tary gen­eral will be in Myan­mar to at­tend the 21st-cen­tury Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence.

Lead­ers of six dif­fer­ent re­li­gions, in­clud­ing Baha’i and Jewish rep­re­sen­ta­tives as well as Hindu, Muslim, Chris­tian and Bud­dhist del­e­gates, have been in­vited to at­tend the in­ter­faith dis­cus­sion.

The head of the na­tional spe­cial assem­bly of the Baha’i Faith of Myan­mar, U Tin Kyaing, yes­ter­day con­firmed his in­ten­tion to at­tend the gath­er­ing.

“Ac­cord­ing to what I was in­formed, they want to fo­cus on in­ter­faith is­sues in or­der to achieve civil peace in our coun­try,” he said.

Two rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Bud­dhist com­mu­nity, three rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Muslim com­mu­nity, three rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Chris­tian com­mu­nity and two rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Hindu com­mu­nity have so far agreed to at­tend the meet­ing with the UN chief, ac­cord­ing to U Hla Tun, one of the rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Hindu com­mu­nity. The Myan­mar Times was un­able to con­firm whether a Jewish leader had ac­cepted the in­vi­ta­tion.

“I think this is a good gath­er­ing be­cause we can share with each other the per­spec­tives of our re­li­gions and we will have the chance to talk about how to coexist peace­fully in the coun­try,” U Hla Tun said.

U Aye Lwin, one of the lead­ers at­tend­ing the event on be­half of the Muslim com­mu­nity, also praised the UN of­fi­cial for con­ven­ing the meet­ing,

“This event means the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity is fo­cus­ing on free­dom of religion and they con­sid­er­ately in­vited mem­bers of all dif­fer­ent re­li­gions, sig­nal­ing good progress,” he said.

On Au­gust 21, an in­ter­faith peace prayer was con­vened at Yan­gon’s Cha­trium Ho­tel in the lead-up to the Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence. Most of the lead­ers from that event are also in­cluded among the list of at­ten­dees for the up­com­ing gath­er­ing in Nay Pyi Taw.

Mr Ban is ex­pected to meet with State Coun­sel­lor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on Au­gust 30, just prior to the launch of the Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence. The UN chief’s last visit to the coun­try was in 2014.

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