Suu Kyi meets Tillerson, UN chief on Rohingya

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Myanmar's State Councellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi on the sideline of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in Manila. AFP

MANILA (AFP) – Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi faced rising global pressure yesterday to solve the crisis for her nation’s displaced Rohingya Muslim minority, meeting the UN chief and America’s top diplomat in the Philippines.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres told the Nobel laureate that hundreds of thousands of displaced Muslims who had fled to Bangladesh should be allowed to return to their homes in Myanmar.

“The Secretary-General highlighted that strengthened efforts to ensure humanitarian access, safe, dignified, voluntary and sustained returns, as well as true reconciliation between communities, would be essential,” a UN statement said, summarising comments to Ms Suu Kyi.

Ms Suu Kyi also sat down with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Manila.

Washington has been cautious in its statements on the situation in Rakhine, and has avoided outright criticism of Ms Suu Kyi.

At a photo opportunity  with Mr Tillerson, Ms Suu Kyi ignored a journalist who asked if the Rohingya were citizens of Myanmar.

At a later appearance after the meeting, Mr Tillerson – who is headed to Myanmar today – was asked by reporters if he “had a message for Burmese leaders”.He apparently ignored the question, replying only: “Thank you”.

Canada’s Justin Trudeau said he had spoken to Myanmar’s de facto leader. “about the plight of the Muslim refugees in Rakhine state”. “This is of tremendous concern to Canada and many, many other countries around the world.

“We are always looking at… how we can help, how we can move forward in
a way that reduces violence, that emphasises the rule of law and that ensures protection for all citizens.”

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