By Habib Shaikh
JEDDAH, Nov 16 — The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is keen on opening direct channels of communication and dialogue with Myanmar, and as the official representative of the Muslim world, is in a position to cooperate and contribute to the socioeconomic development programs in Myanmar, OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu has said.
Ihsanoglu, currently in Myanmar leading a seven-member delegation to the country, also emphasized the need to promote human rights and expressed concern over the violations of Rohingya and other Muslims’ rights.
The OIC chief’s observations came at meetings the delegation had with Vice President of Myanmar and Chairman of Central Committee on Implementation of Peace and
Stability and Development in Rakhine State Sai Mauk Kham and the Vice Speaker of People’s Parliament Nanda Kyawswaron on Thursday in Nay Pyi Daw, Myanmar.
The meetings were positive and reflected the willingness of both sides to cooperate with the other.
Speaking on behalf of the delegation, Ihsanoglu expressed appreciation of the recent steps taken by Myanmar toward democracy and reforms, and pointed out that OIC seeks peace and development for all.
The OIC delegation members, speaking at the meeting attended by seven members of Parliament including two Muslims, pressed for unhindered access of humanitarian aid to all affected people and communities, including Rakhine State, without any discrimination.
They also stressed the the need for clarifying misconceptions and misunderstandings on both sides and for building mutual trust and interfaith community harmony.
The delegation also had a meeting with the Interfaith Friendship Group, which had two representatives of four religious groups in Myanmar — Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim and Christian. They exchanged views on the root causes of the conflict between Muslims and Buddhists in Rakhine and how to work together to build trust and harmony in the community. Arab News