Former U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan delivers his address while Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi listens during their meeting at the National Reconciliation and Peace Centre in Yangon in September 2016. (Photo by Romeo Gacad/AFP)
Interfaith leaders in Myanmar have praised Kofi Annan's commitment to peace and described his death as a great loss for the country.
The Ghanaian diplomat, who was secretary-general of the United Nations from January 1997 to December 2006, died aged 80 on Aug. 18 after a short illness.
Myint Swe, president of Religions for Peace (Myanmar), said Annan had a strong commitment to bring peace and justice to the Rakhine crisis.
Myint Swe, who was among religious leaders who met Annan in December 2016, said his death is a great loss for Myanmar and for the world, which had lost an honest man.
"The death of Kofi Annan must be a driving force for implementing his recommendations over the Rakhine crisis," Myint Swe told ucanews.com.
Ashin Ariya Wuntha Bhiwunsa, a Mandalay-based monk involved in interfaith programs, said State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi made the right move by choosing "a prominent and courageous man" to lead the Rakhine Advisory Commission.
"Suu Kyi is committed to tackling the Rakhine crisis and is aware of solving it with international help, so she let Kofi Annan lead the commission and give recommendations towards peace, stability and prosperity," Ariya Wuntha told ucanews.com.
Hla Tun, a Hindu leader in Yangon, said he hoped all stakeholders would be able to implement Annan's recommendations over Rakhine to bring a peaceful society in Myanmar.
Than Myint U, a writer and historian, tweeted that Annan was an inspiring boss, dedicated international public servant, true statesman and a very gentle man.
On Aug. 23, 2016, Myanmar's government established the commission, comprised of six local and three international experts, to investigate problems in Rakhine.
The commission released its final report on Aug. 24, 2017, and gave 88 recommendations. Suu Kyi endorsed those recommendations and pledged to implement them. Annan's recommendations were seen as a roadmap for promoting peace, reconciliation and regional development in Rakhine.
But Rohingya militants attacked several border posts in Myanmar on Aug. 25, 2017 resulting in a Myanmar military crackdown which drove more than 688,000 Rohingya into Bangladesh.
The Nobel Peace Laureate will be remembered as an advocate for peace, human rights, development and rule of law.