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Published on Wednesday, 16 January 2013 16:34
President Thein Sein and ICRC Chairman Peter Maurer in Naypyidaw
Photo - President office website
Myanmar will cooperate more closely with the International Committee of the Red Cross during his presidency, President Thein Sein, state-run media reported yesterday.
He made the commitment during a meeting with ICRC President Peter Maurer at Presidential House in Nay Pyi Taw on Monday afternoon.
Peter Maurer arrived in Myanmar on Sunday and left for the capital the following day to meet with Thein Sein and government officials, according to the ICRC office here.
Thein Sein said frequent visits of ICRC officials have enhanced cooperation with officials here. He also praised the ICRC for its neutrality and non-interference in political matters.
The president also noted that Myanmar is a signatory of the Geneva Convention, the backbone of the ICRC, said the country always adheres to the convention and expressed gratitude for the ICRC’s ongoing activities to improve conditions inside the country's prisons.
Maurer said that the visit was aimed at extending areas of cooperation with Myanmar in future. The committee is carrying out its work here with transparency and prioritising the distribution of humanitarian aid to those who need it most, he added.
The president and Maurer also discussed further cooperation to provide aid in conflict areas, state-run media reported.
The ICRC is working with the Correctional Department to ensure all prisons have functioning electricity and sewage systems.
The ICRC began working with the government in 1986 and began stressing prison conditions in 1999. It shut its office here in 2005, but reopened it in July 2011 following talks with the new government.