The President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Peter Maurer met with President Thein Sein in Naypyitaw on Monday on the first leg of a surprise landmark visit by the ICRC to Burma.The two men discussed the ICRC’s access to prisoners and conflict zones at the meeting, which was also attended by several government ministers and Red Cross officials.

In a statement issued by the President’s Office, it was reported that Thein Sein had encouraged ICRC’s involvement in Burma. He also praised the stance of the ICRC as a non-aligned organization with no political intervention and vowed to be as cooperative as possible with the ICRC during his administration.

“This visit is very important,” said Maurer in a statement issued before the trip. “Myanmar’s government has signaled its readiness to discuss a number of humanitarian issues with us. This is a significant step forward in our dialogue and in strengthening our relationship with the Myanmar authorities. Over the past year, there have been positive developments on various issues where the ICRC’s expertise could benefit the people of Myanmar”.

The ICRC also said it was seeking broader access to conflict-affected areas such as the Kachin, Karen and Rakhine states. In the coming days, Maurer will visit the restive Rakhine region where the ICRC is currently carrying out humanitarian activities.

Link: http://www.mizzima.com/news/inside-burma/8736-thein-sein-meets-with-red-cross-president.html