World

Sanctions won't help Rohingya crisis: Tillerson

NAYPYITAW, MYANMAR Washington's top diplomat yesterday said he would not yet push for sanctions against Myanmar over the Rohingya refugee crisis.

But United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for an independent investigation into "credible" reports that soldiers had committed atrocities against the Muslim minority.

Mr Tillerson was speaking after a one-day stop in Myanmar's capital, Naypyitaw, as global outrage builds over impunity for a military accused of waging an ethnic cleansing campaign against the Rohingya.

Speaking by his side, Myanmar's de facto civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi hit back at global criticism that she has been silent over the refugee crisis, saying she has instead focused on speech that avoids inflaming sectarian tensions.

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More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled the mainly Buddhist country since the military launched a counter-insurgency operation in northern Rakhine State in late August.

Speaking after meetings with the army chief and Ms Suu Kyi, Mr Tillerson said broad economic sanctions are "not something that I'd think would be advisable at this time".

"We want to see Myanmar succeed," he said.

"You cannot just impose sanctions and say therefore the crisis is over."

Ms Suu Kyi, who rarely holds press conferences, addressed those criticisms yesterday.

She said: "I have not been silent... what people mean is what I say is not interesting enough.

"What I say is not meant to be exciting, it is meant to be accurate... not set people against each other." - AFP

MyanmarAung San Suu KyiRefugee