The ASEAN Foreign Ministers today agreed to conclude the mandate of the ASEAN-led post-Nargis coordination in Myanmar. Noting the completion report of the ASEAN Humanitarian Task Force for the Victims of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar (AHTF), the Foreign Ministers agreed to officially end the operations of the AHTF and the Tripartite Core Group (comprising the Government of Myanmar, ASEAN and the United Nations) in Myanmar by 31 July 2010.

The ASEAN-led coordinating mechanism in Myanmar was established by the Foreign Ministers at their special meeting in Singapore in May 2008 in the wake of Cyclone Nargis that made landfall in Myanmar on 2 and 3 May 2008.

Commenting on the completion report delivered by the Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr Surin Pitsuwan, as the Chair of the AHTF during the AMM in Ha Noi, Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo, who had chaired the special meeting said, “Looking back, Nargis has helped shaped ASEAN today. This is something that we can be proud of and we thank Dr Surin and the people around him for the job well done.”

Myanmar Foreign Minister Nyan Win also informed the other Foreign Ministers on the progress of recovery of the Nargis-affected population and on the role played by the TCG. On behalf of the Government, the Foreign Minister thanked the ASEAN Member States for all their contributions and support to the post-Nargis response.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa also expressed his gratitude to the Myanmar Government for allowing ASEAN to draw lessons from the entire exercise, saying that, “With the lessons learnt, we feel assured that ASEAN will be in a better shape to respond to future disasters.”

In their Joint Communiqué issued at the end of the AMM, the Foreign Ministers underlined the importance to institutionalise the experience and knowledge gained and agreed that the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Centre) be established in Jakarta.

The Foreign Ministers further noted that the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement of the Government of Myanmar will take over the responsibility of coordinating and utilising assistance from the international community in the post-Nargis recovery efforts.