Published: Fri, May 04, 2018
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UNSC members to visit Rakhine state today

UNSC members to visit Rakhine state today

Myanmar's army chief denied his forces committed rape and other sexual abuses during a crackdown he ordered on Rohingya Muslims, as he addressed UN Security Council delegates in the capital Naypyidaw. Theplomats are slated to head to northern Rakhine state on Tuesday.

Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi has reiterated the government's readiness to receive back displaced persons fleeing Rakhine conflict to Bangladesh after verification, calling for cooperation with the Bangladesh side to expedite the repatriation process, according to the foreign ministry Tuesday.

The Rohingya fled after Myanmar's army carried out "clearance operations" which it says targeted militants.

She also spoke of the Rohingya Relocation Centre being built on Bhasan Char, an island in the Bay of Bengal. She reportedly told them of Myanmar's difficulties in transitioning to rule of law after decades of military dictatorship.

Afterwards, the delegation met with Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing, Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services at the office of the Commander-in-Chief, in the afternoon.

The Rakhine crisis occurred because of Muslim militants whom he referred to as "terrorists" carried out deadly attacks on 30 police outposts on August 25, 2017, and caused other violence in the northern part of the state, he said.

Min Aung Hlaing also repeated the official line that Myanmar was ready to take back those refugees who could be verified as residents, as per a repatriation deal with Bangladesh.

During a visit to an unclaimed strip of territory between the two states dubbed no-man's land, several tearful women and girls threw themselves at British U.N. Ambassador Karen Pierce as they recounted what had happened to them.

Last December, Doctors Without Borders had said that around 6,700 Rohingyas were killed in the military campaign, which the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and other countries had described as ethnic cleansing.

"This is very complicated issue, and it's related with history, with ethnicity, with religions", Chinese deputy U.N. Ambassador Wu Haitao told reporters, in response to a question about whether China and Russian Federation were preventing the council from considering a resolution on Myanmar.

Pyone Kaythi Naing, a National League for Democracy lawmaker in the lower house of the national parliament, said the diplomats had planned to meet with six legislators but had to cancel because of a flight delay on account of bad weather. The council mission also met with civil society, parliamentarians and government representatives in the capital of Myanmar.

He said he lost a brother, an uncle and a nephew after Myanmar soldiers shot them dead. Many such villages could be seen from the Myanmar military helicopters that carried the United Nations envoys to northern Rakhine.

"We expect the countries like Russia, China, India and Japan to play a major role in resolving the Rohingya crisis", the Prime Minister's spokesman Ihsanul Karim quoted the premier as saying. Before departing for Myanmar early on Monday, the delegation met with Hasina in Dhaka. "There are a lot of agencies apart from the Security Council".

"We are not asking Myanmar government something new. This is one of the issues that is on the top of our agenda".

Mansour Ayyad Al-Otaibi flatly rejected a suggestion that the Security Council was shielding Myanmar from global pressure.

Russia's deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyansky, said he and his fellow team members would not look away from the crisis after their visit, though he warned that there are no simple solutions.

"The issue is still for us to promote bilateral ways to resolve this issue. But all the parties should show commitments to solv [ing] it as soon as possible".

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