New York

16 November 2012

Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on Myanmar

The Secretary-General of the United Nations today received a letter from the President of Myanmar, U Thein Sein.  In the letter the President condemned the “criminal acts” of elements inside his country that caused the “senseless violence” that resulted in widespread loss of life, destruction of property and displacement of families in the Rakhine State.   He promised to deal with the perpetrators in accordance with the rule of law.

In his letter, the President noted that “once emotions subside on all sides” his government was prepared to “address contentious political dimensions, ranging from resettlement of displaced populations to granting of citizenship” as well as to look at “issues of birth registration, work permits and permits for movement across the country for all, in line with a uniform national practice across the country ensuring that they are in keeping with accepted international norms.”  He underlined the commitment of the government to meet the humanitarian needs of individuals and communities in the affected areas and sought wider international assistance and cooperation in this regard.

Separately, on November 16, President U Thein Sein met senior members of the Buddhist and Muslim communities, including the members of the clergy.  He strongly called upon these leaders to exert maximum effort to foster harmony and cooperation between the communities.

The Secretary-General welcomes both President U Thein Sein’s letter as well as his recent meeting as positive steps in the right direction.   He further welcomes the assurances conveyed on behalf of the Government of Myanmar, in respect of the immediate and longer term issues connected with the troubles in Rakhine that would be carefully noted by the international community.  The United Nations will work closely with the government and people of Myanmar to help the affected people in the Rakhine state as well as support the measures that will need to be taken to comprehensively address the issues at the heart of the situation there.