Friday, 22 June, 2018

State Counsellor of Myanmar Calls on President Kovind

Myanmar terminates Bill Richardson's participation in advisory board on Rakhine state 'Absence of moral leadership': US diplomat quits Myanmar panel
Becky Salazar | 30 January, 2018, 01:53

Forsyth spoke one day after former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson resigned suddenly from an advisory panel on the crisis, calling it a "whitewash and a cheerleading operation" for Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

PHILIPPINES President Rodrigo Duterte has said that he feels "pity" for the de facto leader of Burma (Myanmar) Aung San Suu Kyi over criticism from human rights advocates for failing to defend the persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority.

Richardson, a former Clinton administration cabinet member, quit as the 10-member advisory board was making its first visit to western Rakhine State, from which almost 700,000 Rohingyahave fled in recent months.

President Rodrigo Duterte attends a state dinner with Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Naypyitaw, Myanmar in this March 20, 2017 file photo.

The State Counsellor's office said that during discussions in Myanmar's capital on January 22, "it became evident" that Richardson was not interested in providing advice as one of five global members of a new panel on a crisis that has seen almost 690,000 Rohingya flee a military crackdown to Bangladesh.

His remarks come as Suu Kyi has faced mounting worldwide criticism as Myanmar to seek refuge in neighboring Bangladesh. "I spoke to one young woman who had been on the phone to her aunt in Rakhine in Myanmar".

Richardson went on to say that he was "taken aback by the vigor with which the media, the United Nations, human rights groups and in general the worldwide community were disparaged", as the panel held meetings with Myanmar officials during the past three days.

The statement said that during the initial two-day meeting of the 10-member body that started on Monday, "it became evident that the intent of Governor Bill Richardson...was not to provide advice based on the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State chaired by Dr Kofi Annan but to pursue his own agenda". It had made recommendations for more press freedom, he said.

Richardson said he had informed the U.S. ambassador in Yangon and the State Department of his intention to resign but had not sought their guidance.

Troops backed by hardline Buddhist mobs have torched hundreds of Rohingya villages, forcing almost 690,000 to flee over the border into overflowing camps in Bangladesh.

"It is critical that their rights and needs in terms of protection and aid are front and center in any agreement to return families to Myanmar". He accused Aung San Suu Kyi of lacking the sincerity and moral leadership to tackle the crisis.

The Myanmar government has pledged to rebuild Rohingya villages, and is urging them to return.

Since August previous year, at least 688,000 Rohingyas have fled Myanmar after violence broke out in the Rakhine State and have taken shelter in Bangladesh.

Richardson's statement and personal attack on Suu Kyi and himself are groundless, Surakiart said.

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