Minister of State Hoyer to visit South-East Asia

02.11.2011 - Press release

Werner Hoyer hopes to find out for himself in Myanmar whether what has been set in motion there will blossom into a real reform process. In Thailand, he will hand over water filtering systems which are sorely needed in the wake of the disastrous flooding.

In Myanmar, the Minister of State will be holding talks with Lower House Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann, Foreign Minister U Wunna Maung Lwin and other Government ministers as well as representatives of the opposition, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

In Thailand, Hoyer will be handing over various water filtering systems, worth a total of 220,000 euro, to the Thai Government’s flood-response coordination centre and the Thai Red Cross. He will also be informing himself as to the situation there.

Minister of State Hoyer issued the following statement in Berlin today (2 November):

“The German Government is watching current developments in Myanmar with great interest. We welcome the positive steps which have been taken during the past few months, including the decision to release a number of political prisoners. At the same time, however, many political prisoners remain in custody, and I will urge that they too be released without delay.
I want my visit to allow me to gain an impression of whether the Myanmar Government intends to ensure that what it has set in motion has a lasting effect by converting it into a real reform process. This means continuing with political reform and bringing about the economic development the country urgently needs for the future. For this process to succeed, it is crucial that the opposition, civil society and ethnic minorities in Myanmar be made a part of it.
Germany is supporting Thailand in combating the effects of the devastating floods. Our help includes providing modern German technology specially developed for this sort of emergency.”

Myanmar, after decades of military rule, has for some months now had a civilian government. A parliament was elected in November last year. Although the elections were not conducted in accordance with international standards, there are various different parties represented in the parliament, and it seems to be actively fulfilling its role. Censorship has also been eased. Aung San Suu Kyi is no longer under house arrest and is permitted to participate in politics. The German Government will continue to take an active interest in developments in Myanmar, and it calls on the Government there to undertake more reforms.

There is a great need for help in Thailand, with water supply causing particular concern. The aid Germany is providing is intended in part to help prevent outbreaks of disease. The filtering systems Minister of State Hoyer will hand over include 40 portable rucksacks developed in Germany to prepare drinking water and 3000 compact drinking-water filters bought in Thailand.

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