Indonesia encourages peace efforts in Rakhine State

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) encouraged peace efforts in Rakhine State during a bilateral meeting with Myanmar State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi (Daw Suu) on the sidelines of his visit to Manila, the Philippines.

"Daw Suu highlighted that it is not easy (to realize peace in Rakhine State), but the Myanmar government is strongly committed to improving the situation in Rakhine State," Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi stated in a press release received from Head of the Press, Media, and Information Bureau of the Presidential Secretariat Bey Machmudin in Jakarta on Saturday.

During the meeting at the Sofitel Hotel, Philippine Plaza, Manila, the president was accompanied by Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Wiranto, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Darmin Nasution, Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi, and Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung.

During the meeting that lasted about 30 minutes, Daw Suu also thanked the Indonesian government for helping Myanmar to solve the problems arising in Rakhine State, Marsudi noted.

Meanwhile, at the meeting with Daw Suu, President Jokowi highlighted the need to constantly maintain the stability of a government, as political stability in Myanmar also has wide-ranging implications in the region, particularly in Southeast Asia.

Moreover, Jokowi emphasized that Indonesia is also committed to offering cooperation assistance to the Myanmar government, not only in the form of immediate aid, such as the delivery of aid containers to Myanmar some time ago, but also cooperation between the two countries in the medium- and long-term period.

"The point is that Rakhine State can develop into an advanced, inclusive, and non-discriminatory region. The president has offered some programs to the Myanmar government, including those covering aspects related to health, education, and livelihood," Marsudi explained.

President Jokowi and Daw Suu held a discussion on the development of mosques in Rakhine State. Daw Suu said all licensing issues have been tackled, so that the construction work can start soon.

Furthermore, during the warm and friendly meeting, the two sides also discussed about capacity building of Myanmars human resources, especially training for the Myanmar police.

"Related to the number of police personnel across the nation, Myanmar has only a half of the required police force. It has been reported that the number of Myanmar police personnel is about 80 thousand when in fact the required number is 160 thousand. Daw Suu said she wants to cooperate with Indonesia in the framework of police capacity-building," Marsudi added.

President Jokowi and Daw Suu held a meeting before departing for the opening ceremony of the 30th ASEAN Summit at the Philippine International Convention Center, Manila, at 10 a.m. local time, or at 9 a.m. Western Indonesia Standard Time.(*)