Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Iwao Horii Visits Bangladesh and Myanmar
1. Visit to Bangladesh
(1) Meeting with the government officials
(a) On March 21 and 22, Parliamentary Vice-Minister Iwao Horii had meetings in Dhaka with H.E.Mr. Abul Hassan. Mahmood Ali, Foreign Minister and Dr. Gowher Rizvi, Prime Minister’s Advisor on International Affairs.
(b) At the beginning, Parliamentary Vice-Minister Iwao Horii highly appreciated that the Government of Bangladesh has been accepting the displaced persons who have been flowing into Bangladesh from Rakhine State, that it has been responding with the utmost efforts to the humanitarian perspectives, and it is making efforts to resolve the current crisis through dialogue with the Government of Myanmar. He also encouraged the Government of Bangladesh to closely communicate with the Government of Myanmar, with the involvement of the international organizations including UNHCR, to realize steady and early repatriation in “safe, voluntary and dignified” manner. In addition, he stated that Japan would closely cooperate with the international organizations so that the assistance of 2.73 million US dollars will be effectively used for both the displaced persons and host communities.
(c) In response, the Bangladesh side explained Bangladesh’s humanitarian efforts for the displaced persons and its ongoing dialogue with the Government of Myanmar aimed at the early repatriation of the displaced, along with expressing gratitude for the continuous support extended by Japan.
(d) The two sides exchanged views on North Korea situation and cooperation at international arena.
(2) Exchange of views with Japanese officials of the international organizations
On 21 March, Parliamentary Vice-Minister exchanged views on the current situation of displaced persons and humanitarian activities with Japanese officials of the international organizations who have been working at the camps where the displaced persons who are flowing into Bangladesh from Rakhine State.
(3) Visit to camps
On 22 March, Parliamentary Vice-Minister Iwao Horii visited the camps at Kutupalong and Balkari area to observe efforts by IOM and UNHCR for preparation of upcoming monsoon seasons, the emergency clinic supported by Japanese Red Cross Society, the project of technology transfer of digging deep wells promoted by JICA and the child friendly space operated by UNICEF.
2 Visit to Myanmar
(1) Meeting with the government officials
(a) On March 23, Parliamentary Vice-Minister Iwao Horii had a series of meetings in Nay Pyi Taw with Commander-in chief of the Defence Services, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Mr. Kyaw Tint Swe, Union Minister for the Office of State Counsellor and Mr. Soe Aung, Deputy Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement.
(b) Parliamentary Vice-Minister Iwao Horii, emphasizing the importance of steady implementation of safe, voluntary and dignified return of the displaced persons, involvement in and assistance for the return process by the UN agencies including UNHCR and relieve of tensions and promotion of reconciliation between the communities, stated that Japan will continue to support the Myanmar government’s efforts for improving the situation in Rakhine State. He also encouraged the Myanmar government to construct social infrastructure including houses in the villages where the returnees will be resettled, and to indicate clearer vision towards assurance of safety and citizenship verification process. Furthermore, he called on the Myanmar government to conduct a reliable and transparent investigation with its own, taking in international advice, to implement appropriate measures including punishment, and to expand media access in Rakhine State.
(c) In response, the Myanmar side, expressing its commitment to implementation of the safe, voluntary and dignified return of the displaced persons, explained the situation of the negotiation with Bangladesh for repatriation, construction of the houses for return and resettlement. It also stated that Myanmar accepts the involvement in the return process by the UN agencies including UNHCR and the trust and understanding by the local populations is necessary in their involvement. Myanmar side also expressed strong expectation for further assistance by Japan.
(d) Parliamentary Vice-Minister stated that it is vital to continue to apply maximum pressure in order for North Korea to abandon its nuclear and missile program and requested for continuous understanding and support for resolving the abductions issue. In response, Myanmar side stated that it fully complies the UN Security Council’s resolution and supports for Japan’s position.
(2) Exchange of views with the officials of the UN agenciesOn 24 March, Parliamentary Vice-Minister exchanged views on the situation of Rakhine State and preparation for the return of the displaced person with the officials of the UN agencies based in Yangon.
(3) Visit to Rakhine State
On 24 March, Parliamentary Vice-Minister Iwao Horii visited Hlapokaung village in Maungdaw Township in Rakhine State and inspected preparation by the Myanmar government for receiving the return of the displaced persons. He also held a dialogue with the residents in the surrounding villages.