VP, Indonesian Red Cross ready to fly to Myanmar

"Yes, if needed I will be there as (chairman) of the PMI, I think we have to consider sending the Indonesian Red Cross," Kalla said.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Vice President Jusuf Kalla and the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) are ready to fly to Myanmar if needed to provide humanitarian aid to victims of ethnic conflict in Rakhine State.

"Yes, if needed I will be there as (chairman) of the PMI, I think we have to consider sending the Indonesian Red Cross," Kalla said in Nusa Dua, Bali, on Tuesday.

Kalla made the remarks in response to queries on Indonesias role in resolving the conflict between Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmars Rakhine State.

As chairman of PMI, Kalla had gone to Myanmar during an earlier conflict between Rohingya Muslims and the Buddhists in the state in 2012.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla served as chairman of the PMI in 2009-2014 and was re-elected for the period 2014-2019.

"PMI will also mobilize humanitarian aid for the Rohingya," he said.

Furthermore, speaking in his capacity as the vice president, Kalla said that Indonesia wants to help provide a solution to end the conflict.

"Although it is a domestic affair, yet Indonesia would like to provide suggestions and feedback for improvement, looking for a good solution," he said.

The conflict in Rakhine State has increased since the beginning of November 2016.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported that tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees had been stranded in Bangladesh since November 30.

At the same time, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights also reported that the very serious human rights violations had occurred in the region, such as arrests without trial, sexual violence, and hate speech, either directly or through social media.

Meanwhile, Minister of Foreign Affairs Minister Retno LP Marsudi has said that she will meet Myanmars State Counselor Dauw Aung San Suu Kyi in Naypyidaw to discuss the crisis.

"I will meet with Dauw Aung San Suu Kyi to discuss the developments in Rakhine State," Retno was quoted as saying in the foreign affairs ministrys press statement on Tuesday.

Retno left Jakarta for the Myanmar capital Naypyidaw on Tuesday morning to meet with Suu Kyi in the evening, as part of a series of intensive diplomatic efforts by Indonesia to help resolve the problem in Rakhine State, the statement added.

Earlier on Saturday, Retno had held talks over the phone with former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, who is now the chairman of the advisory committee on the settlement of problems in Rakhine State.

Despite Indonesias diplomatic efforts to deal with the security situation, the condition of the victims in Rakhine State following the October 9 attack has not changed, Retno said.

She said the Indonesian government continues to maintain intensive communications with the Myanmar government in Naypyidaw, and also through Myanmars ambassador in Jakarta.

The Indonesian ambassador to Myanmar is one of seven foreign ambassadors and the only ambassador of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to have visited Rakhine State (on November 3 to 6) to make a first-hand assessment of the situation.

Various meetings were also conducted by the Indonesian foreign affairs minister and deputy foreign affairs minister with community organizations, especially Islamic organizations, to solicit feedback. Communication with various international nongovernmental organizations was also conducted.

"The meeting with the State Council of Myanmar is expected to bring improvements to the humanitarian situation and stability for all communities, particularly the Muslim community, in Rakhine State," Retno remarked.(*)

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