Chittagong, Bangladesh: The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), London, had written a Ministerial statement, dated 16 January 2012, on the visit of Foreign Secretary William Hague to Burma on 5-6 January, which ARNO heartily welcomed it, according to press release of Arakan Rohingua National Organization (ARNO), on January 17.
“This was a historic visit; the first by a British Foreign Secretary since 1955,” according to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), London, written statement.
The statement also said that the ARNO with the Rohingya people of Burma are overwhelmed with gratitude for the statement of the Foreign Secretary, “I raised with the Foreign Minister the discrimination suffered by the Rohingya community, who have been denied citizenship and access to basic services and rights. We will continue to press the Burmese government on this issue.”
During his visit the British Foreign Secretary met with President U Thein Sein, the Foreign Minister and Speaker of the Lower House and encouraged them for significant reforms. “I also wanted to set out clearly to the government the changes that we would want to see before we could support lifting EU sanctions”, the FCO statement revealed.
“I informed them of the allocation from the Department for International Development of £10 million of existing aid for microfinance for the Burmese people and announced an additional two million of humanitarian aid to benefit people in Kachin State, the report added.
Mr. Hague held two meetings with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and assured her of UK‘s continued support to promote reform and democracy in Burma. He met representatives from other opposition groups, including 88 Generation leaders and former political prisoners, the statement more said.
Mr. Hague also met a range of representatives from ethnic communities--- the Kachin, Rohingya, Shan, Rakhine, Chin, Mon, Karen, Karenni--- to hear more about their concerns and aspirations. The statement quoted Mr Hague to have said, “We will continue to stay close to these and other ethnic groups to ensure we remain seized of the issues they face.” It revives hopes and confidence in the hearts and minds of the persecuted Rohingya and other ethnic peoples, the ARNO press release reported.
The statement more added that the Foreign Secretary was delighted seeing the significant developments in Burma and warmly welcomed the release of political prisoners on January 13. “We will support progress, while remaining vigilant on human rights issues, especially in areas affected by ethnic conflicts,” Mr, Hague said.”