Myanmar, S. Africa boost bilateral ties

Updated: 2012-09-05 13:41


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YANGON - South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Mrs Maite Nkoana-Mashabane is currently on her first ever visit to Myanmar since establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries 17 years ago.

Maite's visit signaled close ties and cooperation with Myanmar in the future, official media said on Wednesday.

Meeting with Maite in Nay Pyi Taw Tuesday, Myanmar President hoped South Africa to open embassy in Myanmar in exchange for Myanmar's already set-up in Pretoria.

Conveying a message from South African President Zuma to U Thein Sein for closer political, economic and social ties, Maite said she is heartened by success of democratization being implemented by Myanmar people.

Inspired by the fight against apartheid in the history of South Africa, U Thein Sein said Myanmar and South Africa have common foreign policy which is independent and active and are establishing friendship with every country whether from East or West, adopting Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.

Noting that Myanmar has become a democratic nation like South Africa with three branches of power functioning well, U Thein Sein said the government is looking ahead to both intergovernmental and interparliamentary friendship, inviting South African investors to invest in Myanmar.

He stressed giving the first priority to peace and political stability and then the second priority, economic development and foreign investment.

He requested South Africa to urge other countries to lift economic sanctions imposed on Myanmar at any opportune time for being a leading country in Non-Aligned Movement.

"Some countries are magnifying the issue in western Myanmar to transmit false message to the world," he said, clarifying that "being neither religious nor racial rife, it was just an incident between two crowds in connection with a crime, causing a number of casualties".

He said he was disheartened by coverage of the incident by some other countries which was a mere propaganda.

"Attempts of some countries to submit a draft proposals at coming UN General Assembly and Human Rights Committee made him clarify the matter," he said, claiming that the government has kept the situation under control in the region which is now returning to normalcy and cooperation is underway with UN agencies to take rehabilitation measures for the victims.

He cited the witnessing of the situation by recent visits of Islamic Turkish Foreign Minister and the Chairman of Indonesian Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

"With democracy in the infancy, Myanmar needs the partners that stand by the truth to guarantee its immunity from possible danger," he said.

He extended invitation to his South African counterpart Zuma to visit Myanmar.

Maite assured of South Africa's continued call for the removal of economic sanctions imposed on Myanmar in light of a flood of constructive progress in the country,

Based on more than hundred years of experience in mine industry, South Africa wishes to make investment in Myanmar's mine sector, she added.

Maite also met with Myanmar Foreign Minister U Wunna Maung Lwin and they discussed promotion of bilateral ties and cooperation between the two countries.