Suu Kyi: Rakhine tensions must be handled with caution

Myanmar de-factor leader tells Japan FM gov’t dealing with tensions in area inhabited by Rohingya Muslims under rule of law

Suu Kyi: Rakhine tensions must be handled with caution

World Bulletin / News Desk

Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi stressed Thursday that the situation in western Rakhine State must be addressed with caution and her government is dealing with the latest tensions under the rule of law

Kyodo news agency quoted Japan’s foreign ministry as saying that Suu Kyi, who holds the dual positions of state counselor and foreign minister, had called the situation in the state "extremely delicate".

Rakhine is the home of a majority of Myanmar's stateless Rohingya Muslim community, which the United Nations has called as among the most persecuted minority groups worldwide.

Kyodo reported that during a meeting in Tokyo, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Suu Kyi -- who also serves as foreign minister -- agreed to cooperate in efforts to end ethnic conflict in Myanmar.

In the past month, Myanmar’s military has been conducting operations in north Rakhine that were launched after armed individuals killed nine police officers in attacks on police outposts.

Since then, rights groups have expressed concern over reports of the military killing, raping and torturing members of the stateless Rohingya Muslim community as it seeks to avenge, and find those responsible for, the Oct. 9 attacks.

Many of the Rohingya have been living in camps since communal violence broke out in Rakhine between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya in 2012.

On Thursday, Japan’s foreign ministry quoted Kishida as telling Suu Kyi, "any sort of violence should not be tolerated, and I welcome [your] efforts for the peace and stability of Rakhine.”

Kishida also said Japan would offer a new passenger boat to Myanmar to assist in efforts to ease inter-communal tensions in Rakhine, which Suu Kyi said would not only help in transporting people but also play a role in the state’s development.

Boat accidents are common in Myanmar, where people living along the nation's long coastline and flood-prone river systems rely heavily on often-overcrowded ferries for transport. Rohingya in Rakhine face additional dangers due to displacement and restrictions on movement.

Suu Kyi is paying a five-day visit to Japan, whose Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Wednesday that the public and private sectors in his country had pledged to contribute around 800 billion yen ($7.73 billion) over five years to aid nation-building in Myanmar, in an effort to end ethnic conflicts.

Last Mod: 03 Kasım 2016, 11:15
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