Singapore takes the position that there is an urgent need to restore peace, stability, harmony and reconciliation among all the communities in the Rakhine State. The situation in the Rakhine State has resulted in the mass displacement of people, loss of lives and the destruction of homes. But it is a difficult and complex situation, with roots dating back more than half a century. There are no easy solutions.
2 The immediate priority is to relieve the suffering of the affected communities. Violence has to stop on all sides, so that humanitarian assistance can reach all those in need, regardless of ethnicity and religious affiliation. The Myanmar government has welcomed offers of the international community to contribute towards its humanitarian assistance and recovery programmes. Singapore and ASEAN have mobilised to deliver aid and stand ready to support the government’s ongoing efforts.
3 It is the responsibility of the Myanmar government to restore peace, stability and the rule of law in Rakhine State, as well as to exercise moral leadership on this issue. In the medium to long term, comprehensive and sustainable solutions must be found to address the root causes and underlying challenges. This can only occur through reconciliation and constructive dialogue. Support from Myanmar’s military for the government’s effort is crucial. It is a difficult process. All the parties must work together in good faith and build mutual trust.
4 Singapore welcomes the Myanmar government’s acknowledgement that it needs to address the deep-seated issues in the country, including Rakhine State. The government is working with the Bangladesh government to ensure that those displaced can return to their homes in a safe and dignified way. The signing of the Arrangement on Return of Displaced Persons from Rakhine State between Myanmar and Bangladesh is a positive step forward. Both sides will set up a joint working group on the repatriation. The legal status of those who fled the violence in the Rakhine State must be defined, so that all affected communities can rebuild their lives. We encourage both sides to continue their exchanges and hope that discussions will be fruitful.
5 While responsibility to resolve the inter-communal and complex issues involving the peoples of Rakhine State ultimately rests with all the parties concerned in Myanmar, the international community can do its part to support efforts by all parties to work towards a viable solution, so that affected communities can restore trust and live in peace and dignity.
6 As a friend, neighbour, fellow ASEAN member and as the incoming Chair of ASEAN, Singapore stands ready to support the Myanmar government in whatever way we can to make a positive contribution.
7 Thank you.
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