December 14, 2017

RARE PRESS CONFERENCE—Military chief hopes to see free, fair election

Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing and journalists have photos taken together outside Bayintnaung Hall of the military command. Photo: MNA
Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing and journalists have photos taken together outside Bayintnaung Hall of the military command. Photo: MNA

SENIOR-GENERAL Min Aung Hlaing, the commander-in-chief of the Myanmar Defence Services (Tatmadaw), said he hopes to see a free and fair election in November. He pledged to allow observers access polling stations at battalions and regiments in accordance with the rules set by the Union Election Commission.
During a rare press conference held with journalists in Nay Pyi Taw on Monday, the senior-general said the Tatmadaw is currently striving to tackle threats in conflict areas.
He also addressed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, which is slated to be signed in the first week of October. He expressed his belief that the agreement would be signed in the near future, urging all of the involved parties to avoid provocations that may case doubts on the peace process.
He would welcome either a male or female president, the senior-general said in response to a question from a journalist during the press conference, AFP reported.
The commander-in-chief also said the Tamadaw will be upgraded with the aim of becoming a standard army.
The Tatmadaw is planning to buy and build naval vessels as part of the effort to boost the capacity of Myanmar’s navy, the senior-general said.
During his visit to Israel, the commander-in-chief of Defence Services also held talks with senior members of Israel defence ministry over strengthening ties and cooperation, especially in training programmes and personnel exchange schemes.
He said the Tatmadaw is trying at its best to avoid a crisis involving boat people. He also pledged to hold workshops in order to find ways to improve relations between the Tatmadaw and the media.—MNA

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