Foreign Minister Soini to Myanmar

Foreign Minister Soini to Myanmar

Press release 201/2017
17 November 2017

Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini will visit Myanmar from 19 to 22 November. The Minister will attend the 13th ASEM Foreign Ministers' Meeting (ASEM FMM13) in Naypyidaw and meet State Counsellor and Union Minister for Foreign Affairs of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi. He will also open the Embassy of Finland in Yangon.

During his visit, Foreign Minister Soini will have meetings with the country’s political and religious opinion leaders and journalists. The Minister and State Counsellor and Union Minister for Foreign Affairs of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi will discuss the situation in the Rakhine state and the plight of the Rohingya, the humanitarian crisis in the region, and the Myanmar peace process. The UN estimates that, since the end of August, over 600,000 people have fled Myanmar to Bangladesh. Along with the rest of the international community, Finland calls for an end to the violence, respect for human rights, humanitarian access, and the creation of conditions for the safe return to their home regions for the refugees.

Finland’s Liaison Office in Yangon, located in the premises of the Nordic House, will be officially upgraded to an Embassy on Tuesday 21 November. Finland will open the Embassy in Myanmar in order to strengthen the relations between the two countries and to support the peace process and democracy development in the country.

Finland also supports good governance of forest resources, improvement of the quality of education, and the rights of girls and women by means of various means, including development cooperation. The mission will also focus on closer commercial relations. Finland’s first Ambassador to Myanmar will be Riikka Laatu.

The topics on the agenda of the two plenary sessions of the Ministerial Meeting (on 20 and 21 November) will be peace and sustainable development as well as the 3rd decade of ASEM and the development of the forum of cooperation. At a separate retreat session, topical international and regional questions will be discussed. There will also be a youth forum, which will gather 160 young persons from the ASEM countries. Two young representatives from Finland will attend the youth forum.

ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) was established in 1996 to foster contacts and understanding between Asian and European countries through dialogue and joint projects. Minister Soini will have separate meetings with many ministerial colleagues representing countries of the region.

Inquiries: Jussi Tanner, Diplomatic Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, tel.  +358 295 350 663
Jouni Mölsä, Director General of Communications, tel. +358 50 430 6517
Heini Korhonen, tel. +358 50 594 3842

The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are in the format [email protected]