Meeting addresses formation of National Security Advisor’s role, government’s priorities, and situation in Rakhine State
Yangon, 15 February 2017
Myanmar’s newly appointed national Security advisor, U Thaung Tun, met today with over (60) members of the Diplomatic Corps and Un agencies at the national Reconciliation and Peace Centre in Yangon to brief them on his role.
Union Minister for the Office of the State Counsellor, U Kyaw Tint Swe, opened the meeting by explaining how the new role of national Security advisor will support the government’s efforts to build a peaceful, prosperous and democratic federal union.
He spoke of how the government has made national reconciliation and peace its priority and emphasized that:
“Without national reconciliation and peace, we cannot hope to build a prosperous, democratic nation.”
The Union Minister also outlined the various steps taken by the government to revitalize the peace process since it came into office. He highlighted the State Counsellor’s leadership of the Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee, the creation of the new Peace Commission chaired by Dr. Tin Myo Win and the reform of the National Reconciliation and Peace Centre to reflect the government’s wider focus on national reconciliation.
He also expressed his view that national reconciliation and peace in the Rakhine State is crucial to peace and stability throughout the country. The government, therefore, established the Central Committee on Implementation of Peace, Stability and Development of Rakhine State, chaired by the State Counsellor, on 30 May 2016.
The Union Minister also stressed the importance of resolving, not inflaming the situation in Rakhine State. He noted the government’s commitment to addressing the issue of underdevelopment in the State through the Central Committee on Implementation of Peace, Stability and Development of Rakhine State, and highlighted the work of the independent commission led by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, which will assist the government in finding long-term solutions.
Dr. Tin Myo Win, Chairman of the Peace Commission, then updated and shared developments in the peace process; implementation of the NCA; the Union Peace Conference-21st Century Panglong; the armed clashes and the discussions with non-signatories.
He explained that the government has chosen a two-track approach. One is to reach out to signatories of the NCA to ensure that the NCA implementation is on track, the other is to engage with non-signatories to bring them into the process.
He said that the NCA includes two critical parts: to maintain ceasefire and to implement political dialogue. The government met with the Joint Ceasefire Monitoring Committee (JMC) to ensure that the JMC continues its functions effectively. As a result, the clashes among NCA signatories have been minimal and the ceasefire among signatories has become stronger.
He further explained that the government implemented the first 21st Century Panglong to ensure that political dialogue is an integral part of the peace process. To strengthen local participation, a series of National Dialogues were initiated to collect divergent views that will be carried forward to the 21st Century Panglong. He also emphasized that the government is working closely with the Tatmadaw to ensure that the political dialogue is meaningful and fruitful.
It has been decided that at the next session of the 21st Century Panglong, scheduled in March, the UPDJC will work for an agreement on some basic principles of federalism. It is the belief of the government that there has to be a viable ceasefire agreement to reduce clashes. The NCA includes the mechanism and code of conduct necessary for the reducion of clashes.
He concluded by stressing that the political dialogue is gaining momentum, and expressed his confidence that once all ethnic armed groups have joined the NCA process, military clashes will be reduced.
U Thaung Tun concluded the meeting by introducing his new post as National Security Advisor.
In this new position, U Thaung Tun will be responsible for working closely with relevant ministries and departments to look holistically at the country’s security challenges.
Speaking at the meeting, National Security Advisor U Thaung Tun said:
“Our greatest national endeavour is to forge a lasting peace for all our people. It is my firm belief that only then will we succeed in building a truly democratic nation.
I take up my new role as National Security Advisor then with a clear mission- to ensure the safety and security of all our people as the foundations for building a peaceful, prosperous and democratic Myanmar.”
U Thaung Tun also spoke of the government’s wider vision for the country and the progress it had made in its first 10 months in office. He explained how the government is seeking to rebuild the economy and establish the foundations for future growth, in which the entire nation can share:
“We have set about the longterm mission to rebuild our economy; providing jobs, schools and hospitals. And we have begun reforming our system of government to create a fair and just society for all our people, strengthening the rule of law, tackling corruption and creating robust civil and democratic institutions.”
The National Security Advisor concluded by addressing the issues in Rakhine State, reiterating the government’s commitment to investigating recent allegations of abuses, and finding a long-term solution to the challenges in the region:
“There can be no excuse for excessive force, for abuses of fundamental human rights and basic criminality. We have shown that we are ready to act where there is clear evidence of abuses.
The situation in northern Rakhine has now stabilised. The clearance operations undertaken by the military have ceased, the curfew has been eased and there remains only a police presence to maintain the peace.
In addition to providing immediate humanitarian relief, our focus must now be on finding real, lasting solutions to the situation in Rakhine.”
The National Security Advisor will now travel to Munich, Germany where he will attend the 53rd Munich Security Conference, an annual gathering of global security and political decision-makers.