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22 November 2017

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09/20/2017 MYANMAR

Aung San Suu Kyi says she was “firm with the military before” and still is

Myanmar’s democratic leader rejects the accusation that she’s gone “soft”. World figures have criticised her for her silence over the Rohingya. Her party always sought “national reconciliation”. Relations with the powerful military remain an issue. Under the constitution Aung San Suu Kyi cannot play a role in security matters. She sees a solution to the Rohingya crisis with the international community.

Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) - "I’ve stood firm with the military before, and still do now," said Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto leader, in response to criticism following her speech yesterday in Nay Pyi Taw about the Rakhine crisis.

Amnesty International has accused the Nobel peace laureate of ‘burying her head in the sand’ over documented military abuses against the Rohingya.

“She is trying to claw back some degree of credibility with the international community, without saying too much that will get her in trouble with the [military] and Burmese people,” said Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina continues to urge Myanmar to take back 420,000 refugees who entered her country since the beginning of the crisis, adding that the "Myanmar government is not responding to the calls."

World figures have also criticised Aung San Suu Kyi for her silence over the treatment of Myanmar’ Rohingya Muslims by the country’s military.

Yesterday, in her first address to the nation since the start of the crisis, the State Counsellor condemned the abuse in Rakhine, noting that those responsible would be punished, but she did not criticise the powerful military which the UN has accused of "ethnic cleansing».

In an interview with Radio Free Asia, Ms Suu Kyi rejected the accusation that she is soft with the military after her party came to power last year.

"We’ve never changed our stand," she said, adding that her National League for Democracy (NLD) party's goal has been national reconciliation "from the very beginning."

She noted that her party had tried in 2012 but failed to revoke a key provision in Myanmar’s constitution that would have removed the military’s effective veto on legislative reform.

"We did this openly within the bounds of the law. We’ll continue to bring changes within the parliament," she said.

Under Myanmar's Constitution, Aung San Suu Kyi is barred from becoming president and has no effective role in security issues.

The military runs three key security-related ministries, has an allocation of 25 per cent of the seats in parliament, and appoints one of two vice-presidents.

Aung San Suu Kyi pointed out that Myanmar wants to work with the international community to resolve the Rohingya crisis, citing her invitation Tuesday to the diplomatic corps to visit Rakhine.

"Nobody can live in isolation in this age," she said. "Globalization is the norm and we need to have enough courage to associate globally too. So, if we prohibit outside visits, it will be like we have something to hide."

"The world thinks the Rakhine situation is the most important,” she added. “But for us, peace [with the rebel groups] has been the most challenging. [. . .] The Rakhine situation was not calm and peaceful long before we came into power.”

“However, now that the world’s attention is focused on it, it has become overly sensitive to handle. It is always the case when a situation is given a lot of attention, that it becomes difficult and sensitive.”






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