Kofi Annan to visit Myanmar amid demand to abolish advisory commission

| Updated: Sep 01, 2016 21:32 IST

Naypyidaw [Myanmar], Sep. 1 (ANI): Former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan, who was recently appointed to head the Rakhine State Advisory Commission, will pay a visit to Myanmar next week even as nationalists demanding to abolish the commission led by him. "It may be on September 6, but a fixed date for when he will come here is unsure," the Myanmar Times quoted, U Tin Maung Swe, Secretary of the Rakhine State Government, as saying. U Zaw Htay, Deputy Director General for the President's Office, also confirmed that plans were in the works for the former UN chief to visit, but said dates and a detailed itinerary had yet to be planned. The Annan lead nine-member Rakhine State Advisory Commission has been tasked with finding conflict-prevention measures, ensuring humanitarian assistance, rights and reconciliation, establishing basic infrastructure, and promoting development long-term plans in the restive state. The commission has been given one year to conduct research and submit a report on its findings. However, Annan's visit will not be free from tensions as the nationalists in Myanmar have accused the government of breaching sovereignty by convening the advisory commission led by international experts as they perceive the inclusion of foreign experts a growing international influence over local affairs. The advisory commission is composed of three international experts including the commission chair Annan and six Myanmar nationals, including Myanmar National Human Rights Commission chair U Win Mra. The Arakan National Party (ANP) had called for abolishing the commission led by Kofi Annan. The ANP had also accused the government and the newly created commission of being biased against Rakhine ethnics. The Union Solidarity and Development Party also echoed the ANP's statement. The objection to the commission has also gained traction with the National Brotherhoods Federation, an alliance of 22 ethnic parties. In a related development, lawmakers in the Pyithu Hluttaw are scheduled to debate an ANP proposal today that calls for removing foreigners from the Rakhine State advisory commission and replacing them with Myanmar nationals. (ANI)