Washington, cautious in its statements, avoids open criticism of the Lady. The Burmese army removes general at the head of the troops in Rakhine. Tomorrow the US Secretary of State visits Myanmar.
Manila (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi has faced growing international pressure to resolve the Rohingya crisis, meeting today with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The meeting took place in Manila, on the side-lines of the 31st Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), in the presence of the 10 member countries of the organization and over 10 "dialogue partners".
"The Secretary-General highlighted that strengthened efforts to ensure humanitarian access, safe, dignified, voluntary and sustained returns, as well as true reconciliation between communities, would be essential,” a UN statement said, summarising comments to Suu Kyi.. Guterres' considerations came before Aung San Suu Kyi met with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the margins of the East Asian Summit (EAS) in Manila. Washington was cautious in its statements on the situation in Rakhine and avoided open criticism of the lady. Tillerson, who will travel to Myanmar tomorrow, has not made any statements about the meeting.
Last night, during a meeting with the ASEAN leaders, of which Myanmar is a member, Guterres expressed concern over the humanitarian situation in the western Burmese state of Rakhine. He said that the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya represents a "worrying escalation in a prolonged tragedy." He described the situation as a potential source of instability in the region, as well as radicalization.
Meanwhile, the top authorities of Tatmadaw, the powerful Burmese army, have ordered the removal of the general responsible for the troops in Rakhine. The transfer of gen. Maung Maung Soe, head of the Western Command, followed a meeting between Rex Tillerson and the Burmese military, over whom Aung San Suu Kyi has limited control under the current constitution. Senators in Washington are pushing for a law that imposes economic and travel sanctions on the military and their commercial interests.
Washington remains cautions, differentiates between civilian government from military. The US will provide an additional US$ 47 million in humanitarian aid for refugees. China is dissatisfied with US involvement in Myanmar’s affairs. Aung San Suu Kyi answers her critics.
European diplomacy expresses “great concern” also for Kachin and Shan minorities. The 28 EU states confirm their support for an embargo on arms and equipment. Brussels recognizes the little influence of Aung San Suu Kyi on the powerful Tatmadaw.
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.
Myanmar’s leader has rejected the charge of ethnic cleansing. “[T]here is a lot of hostility there,” she acknowledged. But “this divide we are trying to close up”. To her critics, she said “I’m just a politician. I’m not quite like Margaret Thatcher, no. But on the other hand I’m no Mother Teresa either.”
In her first public talk on the Rakhine crisis, the Democratic leader promises to pursue "all human rights violations and outlaw violence" and the return of those who fled. From September 5 there are no conflicts.