USAID rep discusses development issues with Myanmar leader Suu Kyi

19 May 2018
USAID rep discusses development issues with Myanmar leader Suu Kyi
USAID Administrator Mark Green (C) meets with Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in Nay Pyi Taw on 18 May 2018. Photo: USAID

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Mark Green met yesterday with Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in Nay Pyi Taw.
As US Government Spokesperson Clayton M. McCleskey reported on the meeting, the USAID  Administrator voiced the United States' deep concern about the crisis in Rakhine State, which has displaced nearly 700,000 Rohingya since August 2017. He noted U.S. support for Myanmar's transition to a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic state, and noted the importance of resolving the crisis to this transition.
Administrator Green and the State Counsellor had a frank, constructive, and open discussion in which the Administrator called on the Government of Burma to take concrete actions to respect the dignity and rights of all people in Myanmar, and to take measures that would allow the voluntary, safe, and dignified return of Rohingya and other vulnerable communities displaced by violence, said Mr McCleskey.
The U.S. delegation also urged progress on the trilateral Memorandum of Understanding being negotiated by the Government of Burma with the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Refugees and the UN Development Programme to support the conditions to permit the voluntary return of refugees from Bangladesh.
The Administrator underscored USAID's continued commitment to supporting the people of Myanmar, including through innovations in food security, health programming, humanitarian assistance, and support for civil society and democratic reforms.
U.S. Ambassador to Burma Scot Marciel, USAID Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for Asia Gloria Steele, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration Mark Storella, and USAID Burma Mission Director Teresa McGhie also joined the meeting.
“We had the chance to talk about important issues, obviously development issues, our bread and butter, but also ways that we can work towards confidence building of all the communities so that we can help with the safe, voluntary return of the Rohingya from Bangladesh, and create conditions that allow for that safe, voluntary return. It was a good discussion. It was frank and open, and we look forward to following up,” said Mr Green.
“From my perspective, I learned a lot from her, and I look forward to reporting back to Secretary Pompeo as we think what the plan should be going forward, not just for Myanmar, but for the region,” he added.
In response to a question from the media, Mr Green said Suu Kyi has a long history with USAID. “I -- my old organization, IRI, has a long history. I told her about my experience as an election observer in 2015, that's what you heard as we were coming out. And what I said to her, very simple, I remember on election day the soaring aspirations, the bubbling emotion, and what we all want to do is to be able to get back to that aspiration, and to see it fulfilled.”