December 11, 2017

Indonesia foreign minister to meet Suu Kyi today

JAKARTA

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi is headed to Myanmar, where she will meet State Counselor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi on Monday (Sep 4).

Retno will leave Jakarta on Sunday evening for her one-day visit, Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a media release.

In addition to meeting Suu Kyi, Retno is also scheduled to meet the Commander in Chief of Defence Services, Senior General U Min Aung Hlaing, Minister at President’s Office U Kyaw Tint Swe and National Security Adviser U Thaung Tun.

“The visit to Myanmar brings the mandate of the Indonesian people so that Indonesia may help overcome the humanitarian crisis and also the hope of the international community that the humanitarian crisis will be resolved soon,” Retno said in the statement.

Indonesia has taken various measures to encourage the government of Myanmar to immediately restore security and stability in Rakhine state, the media release added.

On Saturday, Retno and her deputy, AM Fachir, held meetings with representatives from Indonesia’s highest clerical body, the Indonesian Ulema Council, the country’s two largest Islamic organisations, Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhamadiyah and Alumni of the Muslim Students Association, to gather their views on the situation in Rakhine.

Apart from key concerns such as the restoration of security, religious figures also stressed the importance of putting a halt to all forms of violence against Muslims and residents in Rakhine state, as well as protecting the entire population of Myanmar.

According to the release, Retno also discussed the situation in Rakhine with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday.

The minister last week launched the Humanitarian Assistance for Sustainable Community programme for Myanmar, a commitment of 11 non-government organisations collaborating as the Indonesian Humanitarian Alliance for Myanmar.

The programme aims to provide medium- and long-term assistance to the people of Myanmar, especially in Rakhine state, in four areas – education, health, economic and capacity building, through programmes worth US$2 million (S$2.71 million) funded by the people of Indonesia.

According the media release, Retno has continued to communicate with Myanmar’s National Security Advisor U Thaung Tun, Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Mahmood Ali, and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who is chairman of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, to find out the situation on the ground and the efforts needed to address humanitarian assistance.

In a statement issued by the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs last month, the government requested that all parties in Rakhine state stop the violence, provide security protection inclusively, restore security, and to respect the human rights of people in the state, including the Muslim community.

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