Myanmar Union Minister for Information Dr Pe Myint on Saturday said Myanmar is willing to cooperate with Bangladesh in all aspects and laid emphasis on maintaining good relations as neighbours.
"It's necessary…it's essential…we’re neighbours. We must have good relations," he told UNB when Bangladesh is seeking genuine efforts from Myanmar to resolve the Rohingya crisis with growing international pressure on it on the issue.
Responding to a question, Dr Myint, also a prominent writer, said there should be frequent meetings between Bangladesh and Myanmar at all levels to strengthen the relations between the two countries.
"We’ve to relate to each other [sic] more actively," said the Myanmar Information Minister laying emphasis on people-to-people contact and cultural bonding.
Ahead of ASEM Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Myanmar, Bangladesh wants to make the best use of high-level visits from a number of countries, including China and Japan on Saturday and Sunday, to mount pressure on Myanmar and expedite talks for sending back Rohingyas to their homeland.
Bangladesh is also expecting louder voice from the international community at the meeting to be held here at Myanmar capital on November 20-21and greater pressure on Myanmar to resolve the Rohingya crisis.
Dr Myint also laid emphasis on cooperation between journalists between the two countries.
He mentioned that Myanmar is still at a nascent stage of democratic transition and is facing a number of challenges in various sectors, including media.
The ASEM foreign ministers meeting will bring together foreign ministers from Europe and Asia who will discuss how to address key challenges affecting the two continents, such as security, trade, climate change, sustainable development goals and connectivity, an official told UNB.
This meeting will kick start the preparations for the 12th ASEM Summit which will be hosted by the EU in Brussels in October 2018.
The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) was established in 1996 as a forum for dialogue and cooperation between Europe and Asia and aims to strengthen the relationship between the two continents.
The ASEM summit is organised every two years, in Asia and in Europe alternately, to set out the priorities of the partnership. Ministerial meetings are organised in between the ASEM summits, including one meeting of Foreign Affairs ministers.
Earlier on Saturday morning, the Information Minister spoke at the inaugural session of the 11th Asia-Europe Foundation Journalists' Seminar as the chief guest with its theme 'Shaping Perceptions and Minds towards Achieving the SDGs'.
Executive Director of the ASEF Ambassador Karsten Warnecke also spoke on the occasion.
The Information Minister said media can plan an important role in helping the governments implement the Sustainable Development Goals. "But media should be ethical and professional in presenting stories accurately," he said.
Dr Myint laid emphasis on more cooperation among countries and share best practices and take positive actions to take forward the SDGs agenda.
Karsten Warnecke highlighted ASEM activities and described what they want to achieve through more cooperation to promote understanding, strengthen relationships and facilitate cooperation among the people, institutions and organisations of Asia and Europe.
On Friday evening, a dinner party was hosted in honour of journalists participating in the 11th Asia-Europe Foundation Journalists’ Seminar at Tungapuri Hotel.
The dinner was attended by the Information Minister, Permanent Secretary, senior departmental officials, media representatives from member countries of Asia-Europe Foundation and Myanmar media representatives.
“Today is an auspicious day for our country and our people. It’s a rare chance in a hundred year for a member country to host this kind of seminar. We’re honored and happy for the guests coming in person to attend the 11th Asia-Europe Foundation Journalists’ Seminar and share their experiences,” he said.
Asia-Europe Foundation Education Department Director Leonie Karen Nagarajan briefed the journalists about the programmes of 11th Asia-Europe Foundation Journalists’ Seminar.