Ex-US Diplomat Quits Myanmar Panel, Saying It's Likely to Become 'Cheerleading Squad'
Thursday, 25 January 2018 18:32 WIB | POLITICS |Global

Former U.S. diplomat Bill Richardson resigned Wednesday from an international board that advises Myanmar on the Rohingya crisis, charging the panel was not committed to change in the Southeast Asian country.

œIt appears that the board is likely to become a cheerleading squad for government policy, as opposed to proposing genuine policy changes that are desperately needed to assure peace, stability and development in the Rakhine State, he said in a statement.

Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and energy secretary in the Bill Clinton administration, quit in the midst of the board™s first visit to western Rakhine State, where nearly 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled a military crackdown on insurgents in the last five months.

Richardson said Myanmar™s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, was deficient in œmoral leadership, an accusation that came two days after a meeting with her and other board members. Richardson said he and Suu Kyi got into an argument when he mentioned the case of two Reuters reporters covering the crisis who are on trial on accusations of violating laws to protect state secrets.

Suu Kyi said the issue was not the work of the board, according to Richardson, who later described her initial reaction to his inquiry as œfurious. He said the quarrel continued at a dinner later in the day.

The journalists were arrested by police Dec. 12 in Yangon for allegedly possessing secret documents pertaining to Rakhine™s security situation.

Rohingya witnesses and human rights activists have accused the armed forces of committing murder, rape and arson in a campaign the U.N. and the U.S. maintain is ethnic cleansing.

Source : VOA


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