Minister for Foreign Affairs meets with Harn Yawnghwe, Director of the European Office for the Development of Democracy in Burma
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Dermot Ahern, T.D., met for the first time with Mr. Harn Yawnghwe today at Leinster House. Mr. Yawnghwe is the Director of the European Office for the Development of Democracy in Burma.
The Minister said:
“I am very pleased to have had this opportunity to meet with Mr. Yawnghwe, a committed and long standing advocate of democracy in Burma, together with representatives of Burma Action Ireland.
We discussed the situation in Burma and the ongoing actions of the regime to frustrate democracy in that country. I emphasised the Government's determination to continue our efforts to secure the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and to support a political process aimed at delivering democracy and national reconciliation. We also discussed the forthcoming EU-ASEAN ministerial meeting, to be held in Jakarta from 10-11 March 2005, where the Government will be making clear its position to the representatives of the Burmese regime, and the impact of the tsunami on Burma.
I found our exchanges very constructive and useful at this critical time for the people of Burma. We agreed to remain in contact on all the issues discussed.”
Note for Editors:
The Minister's meeting with Mr. Harn Yangwhe is part of a regular dialogue between the Department of Foreign Affairs and the key NGOs concerned with the situation in Burma. The Euro-Burma Office is a joint-project of the European Commission and the Olof Palme International Centre of Sweden, to promote democracy in Burma.
Mr. Yawnghwe is the youngest son of Sao Shwe Thaike, the last rule of Yawnghwe, who became the first president of Burma at independence in 1948. He escaped to Thailand in 1963 at the age of fifteen when the Burmese military seized power, killed his brother and arrested his father who died in prison. Mr. Yawnghwe was granted political asylum in Canada, in 1969.