Washington: The US is hopeful of “inclusive, transparent and credible” parliamentary elections in Myanmar that reflect the will of the people of that country, a top Obama Administration official has said.
“The United States believes that this is a very important moment for there to be an inclusive and transparent, credible election that reflects the will of the people of Myanmar,” Deputy US National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told reporters.
“We don’t expect one election to solve every problem in the country, but we do believe this election can be a very important milestone in the ongoing transition that’s taking place. It can move things forward if it goes well,” he said.
Rhodes met top officials of the government in Myanmar, leaders of the political parties and members of the civil society and election observers.
“Even after the results are tabulated, the process is not over. It’s going to be very important that the leaders of the different parties and groups in the country are able to come together after the election in the process of forming a new government,” he said.
Rhodes, however, expressed concerns over some of the trends that “we’ve seen (in the country) with the role of religion in the current political environment”.
“We see a risk of religious expression being inconsistent with a constitution that separates religion and politics and of course, when that happens, ultimately it can pose a danger to religious minorities. And, so we underscored those points,” he said.
He described the ceasefire agreement signed between the Myanmar government and rebel armies as an “important first step” in the process of national reconciliation.
On the humanitarian crisis affecting Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State, Rhodes said he underscored the importance of there being humanitarian access to those who are in need, and freedom of movement for populations.
He welcomed Myanmar’s Commander-in-Chief’s statement that the army will respect the result of the election and work with whoever form the next government.
On Myanmar’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, he said she was “vigorously campaigning, but has also indicated publicly that she wants to work with the different institutions of the country, including the military, after the election. I think that sends a positive signal.”