For­mer UN chief ar­rives to take helm of Rakhine com­mis­sion

State Coun­sel­lor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will meet to­day with for­mer UN sec­re­tary gen­eral Kofi Annan, who ar­rived in Yan­gon yes­ter­day and whose ap­point­ment as chair of a re­cently cre­ated Rakhine State ad­vi­sory com­mis­sion has ran­kled na­tion­al­ists.

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - Yeemon­tun@mm­times.com YE MON

FOR­MER UN sec­re­tary gen­eral Kofi Annan, who chairs the re­cently cre­ated Rakhine State ad­vi­sory com­mis­sion, will meet with State Coun­sel­lor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to­day, af­ter ar­riv­ing in Yan­gon on Septem­ber 3.

Mr Annan’s six-day trip will take him to Sit­twe, the Rakhine State cap­i­tal, on Septem­ber 6, with a visit to out­ly­ing IDP camps the fol­low­ing day, ac­cord­ing to mem­bers of the com­mis­sion, which was formed on Au­gust 23. He will meet Pres­i­dent U Htin Kyaw and Com­man­der-in-Chief Se­nior Gen­eral Min Aung Hlaing in Nay Pyi Taw on Septem­ber 8, when Mr Annan will also hold a press con­fer­ence in Yan­gon be­fore de­part­ing Myan­mar the next day.

U Aye Lwin, a mem­ber of the ad­vi­sory body, told The Myan­mar Times yes­ter­day that all nine com­mis­sion­ers have been in­vited to at­tend the meet­ing with the state coun­sel­lor.

“The com­mis­sion will be launched dur­ing the meet­ing. And I think he [Mr Annan] and Daw Suu will meet with jour­nal­ists af­ter the meet­ing,” U Aye Lwin said.

The com­mis­sion has faced head­winds since its cre­ation last month, with Rakhine na­tion­al­ists in­clud­ing the state’s dom­i­nant po­lit­i­cal party crit­i­cis­ing the ap­point­ment of three for­eign­ers to the panel. Mr Annan, a Ghana­ian, is joined by Ghas­san Salame of Le­banon and Nor­we­gian Laeti­tia van den As­sum.

Op­po­nents of their in­clu­sion con­tend that prob­lems in Rakhine State – which is still grap­pling with the legacy of Bud­dhist-Mus­lim vi­o­lence in 2012 – are an in­ter­nal af­fair, and that Myan­mar’s sovereignty could be at stake.

The ad­vi­sory com­mis­sion has been tasked with find­ing con­flict­pre­ven­tion mea­sures; en­sur­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance, rights and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion; es­tab­lish­ing ba­sic in­fra­struc­ture; and pro­mot­ing longterm devel­op­ment plans. It has been in­structed to sub­mit a re­port on its find­ings within one year.

U Tun Aung Kyaw, sec­re­tary of the Arakan Na­tional Party, said yes­ter­day that the party main­tained its op­po­si­tion to the ex­is­tence of the com­mis­sion en­tirely, adding that ANP rep­re­sen­ta­tives did not in­tend to meet Mr Annan when he vis­its Sit­twe.

“We won’t meet with the com­mis­sion even if they in­vited us. But we told Rakhine civil so­ci­ety or­gan­i­sa­tions to meet with the com­mis­sion and to con­vey the real sit­u­a­tion in Rakhine State,” he said.

The Pyithu Hlut­taw is due to dis­cuss to­day a pro­posal that calls for re­mov­ing the three for­eign­ers from the Rakhine State ad­vi­sory com­mis­sion and re­plac­ing them with Myan­mar na­tion­als.

U Hla Moe (NLD; Aung Myay Tharzan), sec­re­tary of the Pyithu Hlut­taw rights com­mit­tee, said nearly 35 MPs in­clud­ing mil­i­tar­ily ap­pointed law­mak­ers have reg­is­tered to de­bate the pro­posal.

Mean­while, the Sit­twe ANP sec­re­tary, U Aung Than Wai, said Rakhine com­mu­nity groups had ap­plied for per­mis­sion from the township ad­min­is­tra­tor to protest Mr Annan dur­ing his visit.

“In my opin­ion, if it is nec­es­sary to form an ad­vi­sory com­mis­sion for Rakhine State, the Union gov­ern­ment should form it only with Myan­mar na­tional ex­perts,” he said. “We sought per­mis­sion to protest like that be­cause it is not con­cerned with the in­ter­na­tional [com­mu­nity] and our Rakhine peo­ple do not want Kofi Annan to lead this com­mis­sion.” – Ad­di­tional re­port­ing by Yee Ywel Myint, trans­la­tion by

Win Thaw Tar

PHOTO: AUNG MYIN YE ZAW

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