Myanmar allows OIC assistance for riot-hit Muslims

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YANGON — Myanmar has allowed entry of Islamic relief organizations into its territory to provide needed assistance to the violence-hit and displaced Rohingya Muslims.

The Myanmar government agreed to this after a delegation from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) met with President Thein Sein in Yangon, Friday. The OIC team and government officials reviewed recent events and the ways to help the affected.

The OIC delegation was headed by Jusuf Kalla, former vice president of Indonesia and current president of Indonesia Red Cross, and included Ambassador Atta El-Manan Bakhiet, OIC Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, as well as the president of Qatari Red Crescent and the Kuwaiti International Humanitarian Commission.

The OIC delegation relayed to President Thein Sein the concern of the Muslim world over the deplorable humanitarian developments in Arakan province of Myanmar and the concern of the Muslim civil society over the conditions of Rohingya Muslims based on information circulated in the media. The delegation expressed the willingness of the Islamic humanitarian organizations to provide emergency aid to the Arakan province without discrimination.

The delegation also spoke about the efforts exerted by the OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu that aims to help the affected Rohingya.

President Sein asserted that what happened was not a result of religious differences as much as it was “social problems between the various nationalities there.”

He reiterated more than once that his country is known for its multiple ethnicities and religions. He stressed that he will not allow these events to hinder the democratic transition taking place in the country. He also pointed out that the international media distorted the events and presented, as he claimed, wrong information and exaggerated the events.

President Thein Sein stressed his eagerness for the Muslim world in particular to know the truth about what occurred in Arakan. In this regard, he mentioned that he had sent an invitation to the OIC Secretary General recently to visit Myanmar to see the real situation.

The President welcomed the OIC humanitarian delegation visit to Arakan to observe the situation of the displaced on the ground. He agreed to allow the OIC and its partner organizations to provide humanitarian aid to the province in an urgent manner and to open an office in the region in coordination with the central government in Yangon and the local authorities in the province. — SG

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