35th ASEAN Summit: BANGKOK, Thailand- Myanmar ‘will not shirk Rakhine responsibility’

State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi wears flowers in her hair as she attends the ASEAN-Japan summit in Nonthaburi, Thailand, on Monday. Photo – AP



State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi assured the international community on Monday that her government will not shirk its responsibility to provide security and protect the rights of all people in restive Rakhine State.

“The government of Myanmar is fully committed to take back verified returnees based on the bilateral agreement signed with Bangladesh and the trilateral agreement signed with the UNHCR and UNDP,” she told the East Asia leaders’ summit in Bangkok.


According to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement on Monday, the State Counsellor was responding to the remarks made by UN Secretary General António Guterres on Rakhine on Sunday, in which he called on Myanmar to take responsibility for resolving the humanitarian crisis.

At the opening session of the 10th ASEAN-UN Summit in Bangkok on Sunday, Guterres expressed concern over the situation in Rakhine and the plight of the more than 700,000 refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. He said it was Myanmar’s responsibility to ensure the safe, voluntary and dignified return of refugees.

“I remain deeply concerned about the situation in Myanmar, including Rakhine State, and the plight of the massive number of refugees still living increasingly in difficult conditions,” he said.

“It remains, of course, Myanmar’s responsibility to address the root causes and ensure an environment conducive to the safe, voluntary, dignified and sustainable repatriation, ” he added.


In her response, the State Counsellor said the Rakhine issue is very complex, and that the UN and its agencies – which have been in the state for far longer than the present government has been in office – must know this.

“Myanmar’s intention is to continue to work with the help of our friends who approach the problems in Rakhine in a practical and balanced way,” she said.

She praised the ASEAN Secretariat and its Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management for their efforts to create an environment to which the refugees can voluntarily return in peace and security. / NYAN LYNN AUNG


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