Suu Kyi blames 'world conflicts' partly on illegal immigration
NAYPYITAW - The Associated Press
Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi said the world is facing instability and conflict in part because illegal immigration spreads terrorism in a speech on Nov. 20 that comes as her country is accused of violently pushing out hundreds of thousands of unwanted Rohingya Muslims.
Suu Kyi did not directly mention the refugee exodus as she welcomed European and Asian foreign ministers to Naypyitaw, the capital of Myanmar. But her speech highlighted the views of many in Myanmar who see the Rohingya as illegal immigrants and blame the population for terrorist acts.
The ongoing Rohingya exodus is sure to be raised by the visitors at the meetings held on Nov. 20-21.
The world is in a new period of instability as conflicts around the world give rise to new threats and emergencies, Suu Kyi said, citing "Illegal immigration’s spread of terrorism and violent extremism, social disharmony and even the threat of nuclear war. Conflicts take away peace from societies, leaving behind underdevelopment and poverty, pushing peoples and even countries away from one another."
Myanmar has been criticized for the military crackdown that has driven more than 620,000 Rohingya to flee Rakhine state into neighboring Bangladesh.
The United Nations has said the crackdown appeared to be a campaign of ethnic cleansing, and some have called for re-imposing international sanctions that were lifted as Myanmar transitioned from military rule to elected government.
Foreign ministers and representatives of 51 countries are meeting in Naypyitaw in a forum that aims to further political and economic cooperation but takes place against the backdrop of the ongoing Rohingya refugee crisis.
Suu Kyi is Myanmar’s foreign minister and state councilor, a title created for the country’s once-leading voice for democracy since she is constitutionally banned from the presidency.
She does not command the military and cannot direct its operations in northern Rakhine state, but her remarks in seeming support of the brutal crackdown have damaged her global reputation.