President U Win Myint, First Lady host state banquet for Napelese President.
President U Win Myint and First Lady Daw Cho Cho hosted a state banquet for the President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, Mrs Bidya Devi Bhandari, and her delegation at the Presidential Palace in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday evening.
State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was also present at the banquet together with Vice President U Myint Swe and wife Daw Khin Thet Htay, Vice President U Henry Van Thio and wife Dr Shwe Luan, union ministers and other officials.
President U Win Myint and President Mrs Bhandari both delivered speeches at the beginning of the banquet.
President U Win Myint’s speech
In his speech, President U Win Myint first said that it gave him great pleasure to extend a very warm welcome to the visiting Nepalese President and her delegation to Myanmar. He said that since this was her very first visit to Myanmar, arrangements have been made for visit to places of significance and for the convenience and success of the trip. He said he was convinced that this historic visit would elevate the bilateral relations to a new height and expand cooperation between Myanmar and Nepal.
President U Win Myint recalled with delight his first State Visit to Nepal in August 2018 with much appreciation for the warm welcome and hospitality accorded to him and his delegation. The opportunity to pay homage at Lumbini, the Scared Birthplace of the Lord Buddha, during this visit, and the warmth and friendliness of the people made the visit to Nepal a memorable one, said the President. He said he was honoured to be the host during the Nepalese President’s State Visit to Myanmar and happy to have the opportunity to reciprocate the exceptional hospitality accorded to him during his visit to her beautiful country.
The President said that based on the close historical background of Myanmar and Nepal, cultural affinities and mutual understanding, the two countries have enjoyed traditional bonds of friendship since the establishment of diplomatic ties. The many similarities that the two countries share constitute strong bonds between the two peoples and countries, he said.
The President said he was happy to see that over the years, exchanges of visits at various levels between Myanmar and Nepal have further consolidated existing friendly relations and intensified cooperation in various sectors. He said he had the opportunity to exchange views with the Nepalese President earlier today on matters pertaining to the fostering of bilateral ties and the deepening of their cooperation to best serve the interests of the two peoples and countries. He said it was his firm conviction that through joint efforts, they would be able to realize their full potential for cooperation in areas such as trade and investment, tourism, transport, industry and culture.
He continued to say that they were also happy to witness the growing closer coordination and cooperation between the two countries, in both regional and multilateral frameworks, such as the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) and the United Nations. He assured the Nepalese President that Myanmar would continue to collaborate closely with Nepal both at the regional and international fora and strengthen mutual support in the interests of their two peoples.
He said he was delighted to know that the Right Honourable President and the Nepali delegation would also be meeting the Nepalese community in Pyin Oo Lwin tomorrow since people of Nepali origin have been living harmoniously with other local communities and also contributing to the socio-economic development of Myanmar, said the President.
He said he sincerely hoped the Nepali President would enjoy the visit to Bagan, which has been recently recognized as a world heritage site by UNESCO. He said he was confident that the visits to the ancient temples of Bagan and the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon would provide her and the Nepali delegation with new ideas for linking Buddhist pilgrimage sites between Myanmar and Nepal, particularly Bagan and the Sacred Lumbini, so that the shared heritage and cultural affinity between the two peoples would be enhanced.
U Win Myint said he was looking forward to celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, which was just around the corner in the year 2020. He said it also coincided with the “Visit Nepal Year”. In this regard, he took the opportunity to wish the Nepali Government every success in its “Visit Nepal Year” ventures and that the national objective of “Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali” would materialize.
Nepali President’s speech
Next, President Mrs Bidya Devi Bhandari delivered a speech. She said she was happy to pay this state visit to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar at the invitation of His Excellency President U Win Myint. She said it was her pleasure to express earnest thanks and deep appreciation to President U Win Myint and the Myanmar government for extending a warm welcome and excellent hospitality to her and her delegation. She said she brought best wishes and love for everyone from the land of Buddha, pioneer of world peace.
President Mrs Bhandari said there have been frequent exchanges of high level visits between Myanmar and Nepal recently. On this occasion, she fondly recalled the Myanmar President’s visit to Nepal in 2018, where they had fruitful discussions on the issues of mutual interest at bilateral, regional and multilateral level in a friendly and cordial environment. She believed such exchanges of high-level visits would further contribute to deepen the relations between the two countries and people and would also widen and enhance the bilateral relations.
She said Nepal and Myanmar have been enjoying excellent relations which was based on mutual trust and understanding. She added that the relationship went far beyond formal bilateral ties as the rich culture, traditions and similar values have equally contributed in strengthening people to people relations.
She said Lumbini, gifted with historical and cultural heritage, was not only the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautam but also the fountain of Buddhism. She said she was confident that the Government of Nepal would get continued support and goodwill from the Government of Myanmar in its pursuit to develop Lumbini as a center of world peace.
Buddha’s eternal messages have guided lifestyles of the people of the two countries, said the Nepali President, adding that global values of non-violence, peace, love, compassion, goodwill and coexistence were Buddha’s gifts to humanity.
She said that to promote the eternal messages of Buddha and to contribute to human welfare, the Government of Nepal has proposed to organize United Nations International Day of Vesak in 2021 in Lumbini. She shared her confidence that the proposal of the Government of Nepal would be materialized.
She also took the opportunity to praise former United Nations Secretary General and Myanmar national U Thant for his immense contribution to the development of Lumbini.
The Nepali President also congratulated President U Win Myint on the recent decision of the UNESCO enlisting Bagan as a World Heritage Site. She said she was extremely delighted to know that an arrangement had been made for her and her delegation to visit Bagan.
She said that Nepal and Myanmar shared similar development aspirations and challenges. She added that she reiterated the sharing of good practices between the two countries to achieve the development goals.
She said Nepal was moving forward with the aim of sustainable socio-economic transformation of the society especially in the backdrop of historical political transformation and stability that has been achieved. She said these development efforts were motivated by the national aspiration of “Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali.” Towards that end, the Government of Nepal was progressing in a planned way. She said Nepal had concentrated her efforts to graduate from LDC status as early as possible and become a middle income country by 2030 and achieve sustainable development goals by that time.
The Nepalese President said she was happy to observe the remarkable progress made by Myanmar, a friendly country in various sectors. She said she appreciated the efforts made to uplift the living standards of people and to make Myanmar prosperous, and also extended best wishes for the continued progress of Myanmar.
She said she looked forward to working closely with the Government of Myanmar in various sectors in the days ahead for the benefit of both peoples. She believed both our countries could gain important achievements by cooperating in areas of trade, tourism, investment and cultural exchanges. She added, similarly, regional cooperation through BIMSTEC could be an important platform for deeper engagements in the areas of common interest between the two countries.
She said she believed that both countries could contribute to regional peace, stability, development and aspiration for prosperity through effective regional cooperation.
She stressed the fact that, while moving forward towards prosperity through infrastructure development, industrialization and agriculture modernization, enough measures should be taken not to disturb the ecology. Nepal and Myanmar were both mountainous countries affected disproportionately by the harmful effects of climate change. To gather international cooperation regarding minimization and mitigation of harmful effects of climate change, Nepal planned to organize “Sagarmatha Dialogue” in Kathmandu in April 2020. She hoped there would be participation at a higher level from Myanmar for the dialogue, said President Mrs Bhandari.
She commended the contributions made by Myanmar nationals of Nepali origin in strengthening the people to people relations. She thanked the Government of Myanmar for the continued cooperation and protection accorded to them. She also thanked President U Win Myint again for the warm hospitality and excellent arrangements made for her visit.
She said the Government and the people of Nepal extend best wishes to the Government and people of Myanmar, for lasting peace, prosperity and economic development.
Next, President U Win Myint and the First Lady, the Nepali President and State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi joined in on the banquet with invited guests. After dinner, the Nepalese President and her delegation were entertained with performances by artists from the Department of Fine Arts at Thabin Hall of the Presidential Palace.
The Nepalese President, President U Win Myint and the First Lady then presented flower baskets to the performing artists and took a documentary photograph.
Afterwards, President U Win Myint handed over a travel photo album to the Nepali President. —MNA
(Translated by Zaw Htet Oo)