Madame President,

I wish to extend sincere congratulations to you on your election as the President of
the 73rdSession of the General Assembly. We firmly believe that under your able
stewardship this session will be fruitful.

Madame President,

We live in challenging times. This year s theme, Making the United Nations relevant
to all people: global leadership and shared responsibilities for peaceful, equitable and
sustainable societies is, therefore, most appropriate. It serves to remind us of the need to
strengthen the role of this important organization to overcome the complex challenges we
face today. In this process, we must not forget the core principles of the UN Charter,
including the principle of sovereign equality. It is also important to remember that, the
promotion of economic, social, cultural and humanitarian interests, as well as the promotion
and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, are to be attained through
international cooperation. Nor should we forget the international character of the United

It is only through constructive and peaceful approaches that we will be able to create
a better United Nations one that is relevant to all nations. Only then can our hopes for
global leadership of shared responsibilities become a reality.

Here, I wish to stress that Myanmar’s view on the role of the United Nations remains
unchanged. There are no suitable multilateral platform other than the United Nations for
countries of the world to work together to find solutions to overcome global challenges.

Madame President,

Let me apprise this august assembly of our efforts to transform Myanmar from an
authoritarian system to a democratic one; our effort to bring about sustainable development
and to build a society where stability, peace, and harmony prevail.

A country without peace and stability cannot achieve economic development.
This is
our conviction. Accordingly, our democratically-elected government has given priority to
national reconciliation and peace since we assumed office.

Madame President,

We are convinced that ethnic strife and armed conflicts in Myanmar can only be
ended through political means. Lasting peace will become a reality only when the
democratic federal union to which our people aspired is established.

We are, therefore, conducting negotiations at the Union Peace Conference - the
21stCentury Panglong to reach agreement on the fundamental principles for a democratic
federal union. The three Sessions of the conference held so far have adopted fifty-one
fundamental principles which will become part of the Union Peace Accord. To ensure that
the process is inclusive, we continue negotiations not only with the eight ethnic armed
groups that have signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) but also with those that
have yet to come on board.

During the past year, two more ethnic armed groups, namely the New Mon State
Party and the Lahu Democratic Union, joined the peace process by signing the NCA. We will
continue our endeavours to bring all ethnic armed organizations under the NCA umbrella
and to the conference table.

Madame President,

Essential to our endeavours to bring peace and prosperity to the nation is the need
to ensure balanced development in the economic, social and environmental spheres. To this
end, the Government has laid down the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan - MSDP
2018-2030 which is in accord with the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development
Agenda. The MSDP recognizes three pillars peace and stability, prosperity and
partnership, and people and the planet. Among its important goals are peace, national
reconciliation, security, and good governance. Sustainability in all its forms is considered
cross-cutting and will be mainstreamed into all aspects of the SDP implementation. The
success of MSDP requires not only national endeavours but also the involvement and
commitment of development partners and international organizations.

Madame President,

Human rights and inclusiveness are fundamental to the successful transformation of
Myanmar into a democratic society. The Government has spared no effort in nurturing
democratic norms and practices among all its citizens. These efforts include the promotion
of the rule of law, good governance and protection of human rights, and the fostering of
vibrant civil society. All these are essential for the emergence of a democratic federal Union
in which the security and prosperity of all citizens are assured. It is a supremely challenging
task, particularly for a fledgling democracy. However, Myanmar is strong in its resolution to
build the democratic society to which our people aspire.

Madame President,

Resolving the issue in Rakhine is an important component of our democratic process.

Our government has consistently exerted all efforts to bring peace and development to
Rakhine. Within weeks of the assumption of the responsibilities of the state, the
Government set up the Central Committee for Implementation of Peace, Stability, and
Development of Rakhine State in May 2016 under the chairmanship of the State Counsellor,
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. This was followed by the establishment of the Advisory Commission
on Rakhine in September 2016, headed by the late Dr. Kofi Annan, former Secretary-
General of the United Nations, to provide recommendations for bringing peace, stability, and
development to Rakhine State.

I wish at this point to pay tribute to Dr. Kofi Annan who with his immense wisdom
had provided us with recommendations in his desire for us to reach our goal of peace,
prosperity, and security in Rakhine State.

Barely a month after the Advisory Commission was established, an extremist
terrorist group, called AqaMul Mujahidin (later renamed the Arakan Rohingya Salvation
Army - ARSA) launched attacks on three Border Police posts in Northern Rakhine State. The
attacks were premeditated, well-organized and designed to invoke fear among the
inhabitants, to incite violence and to attract international attention.

The Government, despite the attacks, continued with its efforts to seek sustainable
solutions for Rakhine State. The Advisory Commission presented its final report to the
Government of Myanmar in August 2017. It contains 88 recommendations towards
achieving lasting peace and stability in Rakhine. We have set up an Implementation
Committee, and I am happy to report that we are now implementing 81 out of 88
recommendations made by the Commission.

Within hours of the release of the Advisory Commission s final report, ARSA terrorists
carried out simultaneous attacks on 30 police outposts and one army battalion
headquarters. Here, it must be stressed that the ARSA attacks of 2017 were not only
against the security forces but also against various communities inhabiting Rakhine State.

The attacks opened a chapter of fear and instability that led to a large outflow of refugees to
Bangladesh. International attention has been focussed on the outflow overlooked the
broader picture of the various reasons, immediate as well as longstanding, that brought
about the displacement. Nevertheless, the Government has persisted in its sincere efforts
to address as a whole, the need for stability, reconciliation, and development to all
communities in Rakhine.

Madame President,

We sympathize deeply with these displaced persons especially women and children
and have taken steps to effect the early repatriation of all displaced persons from Rakhine,
who are verified as residents of the State.

To this end, we have signed with Bangladesh three bilateral agreements, the
Arrangement on Return of Displaced Persons from Rakhine State, Terms of Reference for
the implementation, and its Physical Arrangement.
We have made necessary preparations in line with these bilateral agreements and
have been ready to receive verified returnees from Bangladesh since 23 January of this
year. We call on Bangladesh to fulfill its commitments in accordance with the bilateral
agreements, to allow, without delay the return of verified persons under voluntary, safe and
dignified conditions. A number of people had returned of their own volition and under their
own arrangement. They have been systematically registered, processed and are now with
their own relatives and families in their own homes. However, not even a single displaced
person has been repatriated by Bangladesh as part of the implementation of the bilateral

Madame President,

The only way to resolve the issue swiftly and peacefully is through the
implementation of the bilateral agreements, working together in the spirit of good
neighbourliness, refraining from activities that might be inimical to the national interests of
either Myanmar or Bangladesh.

We recognize the crucial role of the United Nations in addressing the issue of Rakhine
and the present humanitarian crisis in particular. Accordingly, the Government of Myanmar
signed a MoU with the UNDP and the UNHCR for assisting the speedy and efficient
resettlement and rehabilitation of returnees. Under the MOU, the implementation process
begins with an assessment that will be conducted by the UNDP and UNHCR in the potential
project areas. The UN Team has started this process, and we are looking forward to their

Madame President,

The Myanmar government has expressed its serious concerns over the report
published on 27 August 2018 by the Human Rights Council’s Fact Finding Mission on
Myanmar. From the very beginning, Myanmar objected to the formation of the Fact-Finding
Mission, due to our government s serious and genuine concerns about the advisability of its
establishment, composition, and mandate. At a time when we are working hard to build
harmony on the ground, we are concerned that the release of this report based on
narratives and not on hard evidence will only serve to inflame tensions further and
potentially hinder our efforts to create the much needed social cohesion in Rakhine State.

Here, I would like to stress what accountability should mean to all of us.

Accountability should mean taking responsibility for one s actions. Accountability must apply
equally to all. Individuals, organizations, national governments as well as multilateral
organizations, must be held responsible for the consequences of their words and actions.

Madame President,

As you will also be aware, the government of Myanmar has resolutely rejected the
ICCs ruling of 6 September 2018 in connection with Rakhine State. Our position here is
clear: Myanmar is not a party to the Rome Statute, and the Court has no jurisdiction over
Myanmar whatsoever. The ICC decision was made on dubious legal grounds and applied to
a situation here domestic remedies have not yet been exhausted.

I speak to all Representatives here today when I say that we, the members of the
international community, should be deeply concerned by the recent decision of the
International Criminal Court and the various precedents that the Court may be setting by
this recent ruling as well as by the way in which it was made. Such action can only erode
the moral and legal authority of the Court. We are heartened that we are not alone in
having grave misgiving about the ICC.

Madame President,

Please also let me make it clear, whilst the government is unable to accept this
legally dubious intervention by the International Criminal Court, we are fully committed to
ensuring accountability where there is evidence of human rights violations committed in
Rakhine State. We have recently established an Independent Commission of Enquiry. The
Commission will investigate all violations of human rights and atrocities committed in
Rakhine State as part of our efforts to address the issues of accountability, reconciliation,
peace, stability, and development in our country. The Independent Commission of Enquiry is
chaired by Madame Rosario Manalo, Former Deputy Foreign Minister of the Philippines, and
comprises Ambassador Kenzo Oshima, former Japanese PR to the UN and Under-Secretary-
General of the UN, and two Myanmar nationals, one of whom is the former Chairman of the
Constitutional Tribunal and the other a former Senior Officials of UNICEF.

We hope that, alongside the Rakhine Advisory Commission’s recommendations, the
work of the Independent Commission of Enquiry will become an important guiding light for
the resolution of long out reached problems in the Rakhine State.

Madame President,

The challenges facing Myanmar are complex and multifaceted. However, the people
of Myanmar are resilient. We stand united to face all obstacles and to meet all challenges as
we strive to bring peace, development and national harmony to our country that has
suffered from decades of conflict, underdevelopment, and disharmony.

Thank You.