Tue, Nov 21, 2017 - Page 5 News List

Myanmar cites illegal immigration

CHINESE PLAN:Beijing called for a ceasefire in Rakhine State so that Rohingya Muslim refugees can return from Bangladesh and then a long-term solution can be found


Burmese State Counselor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Aung San Suu Kyi, center, yesterday speaks at the 13th Asia Europe Foreign Ministers Meeting in Naypyidaw.

Photo: EPA-EFE

Burmese State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Aung San Suu Kyi yesterday said that the world is facing instability and conflict in part because illegal immigration spreads terrorism, as her country faces accusations of violently pushing out hundreds of thousands of unwanted Rohingya Muslims.

The Nobel laureate did not directly mention the refugee exodus in a speech to European and Asian foreign ministers in Myanmar’s capital, Naypyidaw, but her speech highlighted the views of many in the country who see the Rohingya as illegal immigrants and accuse them of terrorist acts.

Aung San Suu Kyi said the world is in a new period of instability as conflicts around the world give rise to new threats and emergencies, citing “illegal immigration’s spread of terrorism and violent extremism, social disharmony and even the threat of nuclear war. Conflicts take away peace from societies, leaving behind underdevelopment and poverty, pushing peoples and even countries away from one another.”

Myanmar has been widely criticized for the military crackdown that has driven more than 620,000 Rohingya to flee Rakhine State into Bangladesh.

The UN has said the crackdown appears to be a campaign of “ethnic cleansing.”

Foreign ministers and representatives of 51 countries are meeting in Naypyitaw at a forum that aims to further political and economic cooperation, which was arranged before the outbreak of the crisis.

A flurry of diplomatic activity preceded yesterday’s opening, with the foreign ministers of Germany and Sweden joining the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini in a visit to the teeming refugee camps in Bangladesh.

China has called for a ceasefire in Rakhine State so that Rohingya Muslim refugees can return from Bangladesh and proposed a three-stage approach to the crisis.

“The first phase is to effect a ceasefire on the ground, to return to stability and order, so the people can enjoy peace and no longer be forced to flee,” the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement, citing Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅), who visited Bangladesh before arriving in Myanmar.

Once a ceasefire is seen to be working, Wang said talks between Myanmar and Bangladesh should then work toward a long-term solution based on poverty alleviation.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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