State Counsellor meets top US diplomat

Broad sanctions would not solve Rakhine crisis: Rex Tillerson

State Counsellor and Union Minister for Foreign Affairs Daw Aung San Suu Kyi received the Hon. Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State of the United States, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday.

During the meeting, they exchanged views on continued provision of assistance for the success of Myanmar’s democratic transition, peace and national reconciliation and the situation in Rakhine State.

Mr. Tillerson said he was encouraged by discussions between Myanmar and Bangladesh regarding the Rakhine issue in Myanmar.

He made the remarks at a joint press conference with the State Counsellor in Nay Pyi Taw following their meeting.

Mr. Tillerson also urged cooperation between Myanmar and Bangladesh on repatriation of refugees and urged the government and security forces to protect all people within the country’s borders. Regarding alleged ethnic cleansing in northern Rakhine, Tillerson called for a credible probe into allegations of human rights abuses against Muslims, saying that more information is needed to label the Rakhine issue as “ethnic cleansing.”

The US Secretary of State also reaffirmed the US commitment to democratic transition in Myanmar, condemning the ARSA terrorist attacks in northern Rakhine on 25th August.
Broad sanctions on Myanmar would not solve the issue in northern Rakhine, he added.

“We want to see Myanmar succeed. You can’t just impose sanctions and say therefore the crisis is over,” said Tillerson.

Mr. Tillerson said one of the purposes of his visit to Myanmar was to better understand the complicated situation in Rakhine State, the Myanmar Government’s efforts, and their perspectives on this matter. He welcomed coordination between Myanmar and Bangladesh for the return of the displaced people. Since the 25 August terrorist attacks, the US government has provided US$87 million for humanitarian assistance, and an additional US$47 million will be provided. Secretary Tillerson also said that the US will cooperate with Myanmar to fight against terrorism.

Mr. Tillerson also expressed his constructive support to State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s leadership in Myanmar.

“Myanmar’s response to this crisis is critical to determining the success of its transition to a more democratic society,” Mr. Tillerson said.

“It’s a responsibility of the government and its security forces to protect and respect the human rights of all persons within its borders and to hold accountable those who fail to do so.”

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi explained the Myanmar Government’s efforts to achieve sustainable peace and stability in Rakhine State, to provide humanitarian assistance to the displaced people, to promote economic development of Rakhine State in cooperation with local businessmen, and to scrutinize displaced persons. The State Counsellor also explained the rehabilitation programmes and the efforts of the Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development (UEHRD) in Rakhine State to provide humanitarian assistance with the participation of volunteer youths throughout the country.

‘I have not been silent’

Addressing the global criticism that she has received over her silence on the refugee crisis, the State Counsellor told reporters that she has focused on speech that avoids inflaming sectarian tensions between communities.

“I have not been silent … what people mean is that what I say is not interesting enough,” she told reporters.

“What I say is not meant to be exciting, it’s meant to be accurate .. not to set people against each other.”

She also pledged to repatriate the refugees after scrutiny for citizenship.

She is participating in politics not for power, but for bringing fruits of the rule of law, peace and economic development, she said.

Myanmar News Agency

Ref; The Global New Light of Myanmar

November 15, 2017