Sat, Nov 04, 2017 - Page 6 News List

Tillerson to travel to Myanmar amid humanitarian crisis

AP, WASHINGTON

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is to make his first trip to Myanmar this month to discuss the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine State, the US Department of State said on Thursday.

Tillerson is to travel to the Burmese capital, Naypyidaw, on Nov. 15 to consult with senior leaders and officials after he accompanies US President Donald Trump on his five-nation trip to Asia that starts this weekend.

More than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh following a security crackdown in Rakhine, drawing allegations of ethnic cleansing and overshadowing Myanmar’s US-backed transition to democracy.

A bipartisan group of US senators on Thursday unveiled legislation to impose sanctions and travel restrictions on the senior military officials in Myanmar that the lawmakers said are responsible for atrocities and systematic human rights abuses against Rohingya Muslims.

The bill’s backers are senators John McCain, Ben Cardin, Dick Durbin, Marco Rubio and Todd Young.

Their measure would restrict military cooperation between the US and Myanmar until the US departments of state and defense can certify that the violence has been halted.

The bill would also authorize humanitarian assistance for Rohingya Mulsims, including refugees in neighboring Bangladesh.

Tillerson is to first travel to Tokyo for Trump’s meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that starts tomorrow.

Tillerson is also to join the president for summits with the leaders of South Korea and China, and for regional summits of Asia-Pacific leaders in Vietnam and the Philippines.

In the Philippines, Trump is to attend a summit between the US and 10-member ASEAN.

However, Trump is to skip the East Asia Summit that follows it, where other regional powers such as China, Russia and India also take part. Tillerson is to represent the US at that meeting.

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