British Chief of Defence Staff meets top Myanmar leaders

ASEAN+ January 12, 2016 19:01

By Eleven Myanmar

Yangon - General Sir John Nicholas Reynolds Houghton, the Chief of the Defence Staff of the British Armed Forces, met National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Vice President Nyan Tun and Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Senior General

The British general called on Suu Kyi at the office of the Rule of Law, Peace and Stability Committee in the compound of Parliament Building in Nay Pyi Taw at 4:30pm, according to a statement on Suu Kyi’s Facebook account. No details about their meeting were recounted.
General Houghton and Vice President Nyan Tun met in the Diplomatic Hall of the Presidential House at 10am. They discussed matters related to the 2205 elections, Myanmar’s peace process and further cooperation between the two countries’ militaries.
General Houghton also called on Senior General Min Aung Hlaing at the Zeyathiri Parlour in Nay Pyi Taw at 11:30am.
The senior general's Facebook page features news about his meeting with the British general in both Myanmar and English languages.
The commander-in-chief said: “Myanmar has turned a new page toward democracy since 2011, and the Tatmadaw (Defence Services) is helping as much as it can to ensure the success of the democratic system. It is the duty of the Tatmadaw to end armed conflict for internal peace and stability, which is essential for the country’s reform. On the other hand, the people need to abide by the law to ensure the prevalence of law and order. The Tatmadaw is also trying to lay a solid foundation for the multi-party democracy system in accordance with the desires of the people. Like Myanmar, other countries are also experiencing rewards and challenges in the course of their reform processes. There some countries that are facing difficulties in their democratisation, even though they have no armed conflict. Therefore, the Tatmadaw believes that Myanmar will be able to proceed along the road to democracy and development only the rule of law prevails.”
He also said Myanmar must pursue friendly relations with its neighbours.
“Sandwiched between the two powerful countries, Myanmar practices an independent and active foreign policy and a policy of peaceful coexistence with all countries in terms of political affairs and international relations,” the senior general said.
He said the cooperation of his British counterpart would facilitate the endurance of democracy in Myanmar, which will continue on its current course without any doubt and suspicion. He said Myanmar would not deviate from the road to multiparty democracy, even though it might not be the best system.
The senior general said he also wants to see peace and stability in his country and the world. He said the world should be nuclear-free, except for purposes that benefit humanity. He said Myanmar has consistently showed opposition to ongoing nuclear proliferation efforts.
The senior general’s Facebook page also quoted the British general as saying: “There was once a very strong relationship between the two countries. At present, efforts are being made to further cement the relationship. Both countries are trying to promote the relations between their armed forces. I would like to honour the army’s role in the country’s reforms. Now, the country is on the right track. The UK is ready to extend a helping hand to Myanmar’s reform process as much as it can. In the UK, the relationship between the army and the government is a good one, and neither side puts pressure on the other. Both the army and the government work together based on mutual trust so as to maintain a long-term relationship. Trust-building is crucial for Myanmar in the transitional period.”
The senior general and General Houghton hared their views on promoting cooperation between the armed forces of the two countries, an exchange of visits, and conducting non-military training courses, including medical and fitness courses.

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