International


In an effort to raise awareness and strengthen Myanmar’s response to the production, trafficking and use of illicit drugs, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Government of Myanmar held a number of high-level policy discussions today.

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Myanmar’s international trade still lags well behind its neighbours despite runaway growth in the last five years, and a comprehensive overhaul of existing trade regulations is needed to stimulate economic development, the World Bank said this week.

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The European Union Ambassador to Myanmar has said that communal tensions in Rakhine State remain “very high on the international agenda” during a policy briefing Wednesday.

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The United Nations (UN) special rapporteur on human rights in Burma, Yanghee Lee, and Arakan State Chief Minister Nyi Pu struck a conciliatory tone on a meeting in the state capital Sittwe on Wednesday, in which the contentious terms “Rohingya” and “Bengali” were avoided.

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The European Union said on Wednesday Myanmar needed “space” to deal with human rights abuses in its restive northwest, adding it would respect the call by country leader Aung San Suu Kyi to avoid the term “Rohingya” to describe persecuted Muslims there.

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Issuing a new report on the situation of minorities in Myanmar, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has urged the Government to take concrete steps to end the “systemic discrimination” and ongoing human rights violations against minority communities, particularly the Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state.

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Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has told the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights that the government will avoid using the term “Rohingya” to describe a persecuted Muslim minority in the country’s northwest, an official told Reuters on Monday.

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The new Government of Myanmar, led by the National League for Democracy, must establish a clear plan for strengthening the rule of law and protection of human rights, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) said today, 20 June, as it released its 14 General Recommendations to the new Government and Parliament.

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North Korea is prepared to offer Myanmar assistance in improving rice production and in the construction and maintenance of dams, The Myanmar Times has learned. Sources stressed that at this point, the two governments are in preliminary negotiations and there is no decision yet on the signing of an agreement.

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French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on Friday pledged his country’s support for Burma’s development by announcing plans to raise 200 million euros (US$224.92 million) in funds for the formerly military-ruled nation.

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The defence ministries of Russia and Myanmar have signed an agreement on military cooperation, Russia’s Tass news agency reported yesterday.

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Myanmar and Germany vowed Friday to cooperate for Myanmar’s economic growth, sources with the President office said.

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It is not a common occurrence to have a Turkish Foreign Minister on official business in Naypyitaw, Myanmar’s capital.

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The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. government’s development finance institution, announced June 15 that it has commenced the initial disbursement of a US$250 million loan to Apollo Towers Myanmar Limited, based in Yangon.

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Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has a moral responsibility to try to ease tension between majority Buddhists and minority Rohingya Muslims, her fellow Nobel laureate, the Dalai Lama, said on Monday.

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Turkey supports positive steps taken by the new government in Myanmar for a solution to the problems faced by the Muslim Rohingya community and wants to engage in close cooperation with the community, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavu?o?lu said yesterday at a joint press conference with Myanmar’s foreign minister while in Naypyidaw.

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Visiting Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu thanked the Burmese government on Monday for its efforts to quell racial and sectarian violence in Arakan State, expressing a desire for mutual cooperation to resolve the issue.

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International aid agencies, big and small, are beating a path to Myanmar, relishing the prospect of launching projects in a nation of 51 million people tentatively emerging from more than five decades of military rule.

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The recent meeting between U Htin Kyaw and Mr Vladimir Putin was the first between the heads of state of Myanmar and Russia, though there have long been high-level contacts between the armed forces of the two countries.

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The Myanmar and US private sectors repeated their calls for |the complete lifting of all the sanctions against Myanmar as well as the reinstatement of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), saying only those moves would help Myanmar reach its full economic potential.

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