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    OIC signs MoU on Rakhine State aid

    The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Burmese government to provide humanitarian aid for riot-hit victims in Burma’s western Rakhine ethnic state, official media reported on Wednesday.

    The signing took place after the OIC Ambassador Ufuk Gokeen and Minister of Border Affairs Lieutenant-General Thein Htay met in Naypyitaw on Tuesday, said the New Light of Myanmar, the state-run newspaper.

    The meeting focused on aid to be provided for Rakhine State and participation in rehabilitation tasks by OIC without political and religious considerations, providing shelters, food and utensils to both local nationals and Bengalis regardless of race, and improvement of rehabilitation and an urbanization plan for Rakhine state.

    In August, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who is also OIC Secretary, made the first ever visit to Burma to assess the situation in the state.

    Turkish donors have donated US$ 50 million to the victims in Rakhine State to buy food and medicine, according to earlier official reports.

    The report also said OIC Assistant Secretary-General Atta AI- manam Bakhit visited Burma and an invitation is being extended to the OIC secretary-general to visit Burma and further observe the situation.

    The article said Burmese officials said the violence in Rakhine State was not a conflict between religious groups of different faiths nor a humanitarian issue but was a violence conflict between two communities within Burma following a criminal act.

    Fighting in Rakhine State has left almost 90 people dead, both Buddhists and Muslims, since it erupted in June according to an official estimate, although rights groups fear the real toll is much higher.

    Officials said the government has been working closely with international community for relief and rehabilitation for the victims of both communities in a non-discriminatory and transparent manner, according to a statement of the Foreign Ministry said.

    Burma formed a 27-member Investigation Commission on Aug. 17 comprising leaders from religious organizations including Islam, intellectuals, politicians and retired government officials among others.

    Officials said that law and order in Rakhine State is improving and the overall situation there is now returning to normalcy.

    Source here