EU Sees Positive Signal Amid Rohingya Crisis

EU Sees Positive Signal Amid Rohingya CrisisEU Sees Positive Signal Amid Rohingya Crisis

The European Union urged Myanmar’s government on Monday to allow full humanitarian access and end violence in Myanmar’s restive Rakhine State where over 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh.

European and Asian foreign ministers are gathered in Myanmar’s capital Nayidaw to take part in the biennial Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), DW reported.

Following talks with Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, the EU’s top diplomat Federica Mogherini told reporters that Europe urged “stopping the violence, the flow of refugees and guaranteeing full humanitarian access to Rakhine State.”

Mogherini said her talks with Suu Kyi were “extremely encouraging.”

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel shared her optimism following his own meeting with Suu Kyi, saying he is confident that Myanmar and Bangladesh will be able to reach a repatriation agreement.

“They want to do everything so that refugees can return,” said Gabriel. “Of course, it’s a question of how secure the region is then and what life prospects can be opened there.”

In her opening remarks at the two-day ASEM meeting, Suu Kyi said that the world is facing conflict and instability in part due to terrorism that is spread by illegal immigration.

Suu Kyi cited “illegal immigration’s spread of terrorism and violent extremism, social disharmony and even the threat of nuclear war” as reasons why the world is in a new period of instability.

She did directly mention the exodus of minority Rohingya Muslims from her country in her speech.

Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, has been internationally criticized for her response (or the lack of it) to Myanmar’s brutal military crackdown on the Rohingya, with security forces accused of systematic rape, killings, arson and torture.

The United Nations has labeled the crackdown “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing” while the army has denied any wrongdoing.

 China’s Three Phase Solution

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi hasproposed a three-phase solution to the Rohingya crisis, starting with a ceasefire in Rakhine State.

“The first phase is to achieve a ceasefire on the ground and restore stability and order so the people can enjoy peace and stop fleeing,” he said.

Myanmar and Bangladesh should negotiate a repatriation agreement in the second phase. It remains unclear, however, whether a safe return to Rakhine State was possible after their villages were destroyed.

The third stage would then “face the root of the problem and explore ways to solve it,” Wang said, adding that Beijing believes the root of the conflict is poverty.


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