World

UN chief puts pressure on Aung San Suu Kyi over Rohingya crisis

MANILA Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi faced rising global pressure yesterday to solve the crisis of her nation's displaced Rohingya Muslim minority, meeting the United Nations chief and America's top diplomat in the Philippines.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Nobel laureate that hundreds of thousands of displaced Muslims who had fled to Bangladesh should be allowed to return to their homes in Myanmar.

"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 Ms Suu Kyi.

Mr Guterres' comments came hours before Ms Suu Kyi sat down with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Manila.

Washington has been cautious in its statements on the situation in Rakhine State and has avoided outright criticism of Ms Suu Kyi.

At a photo opportunity at her meeting with Mr Tillerson, Ms Suu Kyi ignored a journalist who asked if the Rohingya were citizens of Myanmar.

MESSAGE

At a later appearance, Mr Tillerson - who is headed for Myanmar today - was asked by reporters if he "had a message for Burmese leaders".

He, too, apparently ignored the question, replying only: "Thank you", according to a pool report of the encounter.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a press conference that he had spoken to Ms Suu Kyi "about the plight of the Muslim refugees in Rakhine State". - AFP

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