Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister visited Myanmar

 

Torgeir Larsen distributes ID cards to people with no means of identification. Photo: Kjetil Elsebutangen/MFA

Torgeir Larsen distributes ID cards to people with no means of identification. Photo: Kjetil Elsebutangen/MFA

Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister Torgeir Larsen concluded a successful visit to Myanmar on May 13-15. In Myanmar, he visited a range of actors involved in the peace processes in the ethnic minority states Mon and Kayin.

Beginning his visit to Myanmar in Yangon, Torgeir Larsen led a meeting in the Myanmar Peace Donor Support group – a group led by Norway. The meeting was attended by Myanmar Peace Minister U Aung Min.

Mr. Larsen then traveled to Mon state, a state with a history of ethnic conflict. Here, he met with a range of actors, including representatives from the central government, the regional government, civil society, political parties and the ceasefire group New Mon State Party (NMSP).  Talking with such a broad group of actors gave an updated view on the progress of the peace process, and of the remaining challenges for a state that have a long history of conflict.

On the second day of his visit, Torgeir Larsen travelled on to Kayin state. Here as well, he met with representatives from the central and regional government, as well as with the ceasefire group Karen National Union (KNU) to be updated on the status of the peace process. In addition to this, he visited the Vocational Training and Life Skill Centre, which is run by the Norwegian Refugee Council and funded by the Norwegian government.

On his final day, Torgeir Larsen and Myanmar Minister for Immigration U Khin Yi traveled into the Kayin ceasefire zone controlled by the KNU, accompanied by members of the KNU and their armed branch, Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA). There, he observed the process of distributing national identity cards to the local community that have never before had any such papers. A means of identification is important for accessing public services like hospitals and school, and Norway is contributing with funding for this project.

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