Suu Kyi Breaks Silence: ‘Can’t Solve Rohingya Issue in 18 Months’

Breaking her silence on the Rohingya crisis, Suu Kyi said, “We need to differentiate between terrorists, innocents.”

Published07 Sep 2017, 06:59 AM IST
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Aung San Suu Kyi has finally broken her silence on the Rohingya Muslim crisis in Myanmar.

Addressing the media on 7 September, close to the heels of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s bilateral meeting, the Myanmar State Counsellor said:

We have to decide how to differentiate terrorists from innocents. You in India would be well versed with this.

Defending the Myanmar government which has been facing criticism over their handling of the Rohingya crisis, she said, “It is a little unreasonable to expect us to solve the issue in 18 months.”

Suu Kyi too has been criticised over her denial of the ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas in Rakhine.

According to the United Nations, the number of Rohingya refugees crossing from Myanmar into Bangladesh has surged to over 1,20,000 since 25 August.

Violence broke out in Rakhine, after militants – a group that calls itself the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army – attacked government forces. Myanmar’s military launched a crackdown, causing over 1,20,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee the region in the last two weeks.

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres also appealed to Myanmar to end the violence, which he warned was “creating a situation that can destabilise the region,” The Guardian reported.

Like Guterres, Nobel Peace laureate and education activist Malala Yousafzai called on fellow Nobel laureate Suu Kyi to break her silence against the violence that has been meted out on Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, saying the “world is waiting” for her to condemn the unrest.

The growing crisis threatens Myanmar’s diplomatic relations, particularly with Muslim-majority countries in Southeast Asia where there is profound public anger over the treatment of Rohingya.

In his joint press statement with Suu Kyi, Prime Minister Modi said India shares Myanmar’s concerns over “extremist violence” in the Rakhine state.

“When it comes to a big peace process or finding a solution to a problem, we hope that all stakeholders can work together towards finding a solution which respects the unity and territorial integrity of Myanmar,” Modi said.

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