Daw Suu, Kerry discuss sanctions, sectarian issues

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi welcomes John Kerry in Nay Pyi Taw.  Photo: MNA
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi welcomes John Kerry in Nay Pyi Taw. Photo: MNA

DURING a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry yesterday, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi discussed the development of democracy in Myanmar, the promotion of bilateral ties and increased US investments and cooperation in Myanmar with the top American diplomat.
During the joint press briefing, Secretary Kerry said he came to Myanmar to give a message to provide assistance to the Myanmar government, which is facing many social and economic challenges. He said the new government has done big things and is overcoming challenges by joining hands with the public.
The US Secretary of State said Myanmar’s democratic transition is encouraged and supported by the US, that he was delighted to see former political prisoners in the parliament and that the results of bilateral relations are evident since the US government has set Myanmar’s development as a priority.
Speaking about rising US investments in Myanmar, Mr Kerry said he would like to provide assistance to Myanmar’s democracy and foreign investments, but certain sanctions will continue to be imposed to encourage all institutions, and at the same time, civil society organisations (CSOs) to continue to support the government’s reforms.
Regarding the continued sanctions, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said they are treading on the correct path, that US sanctions are understandable and do not pose a big problem. She said her government is not afraid of sanctions, and the US is still Myanmar’s partner nation.
Part of their conversation touched on the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s Rakhine State and the terminology used to refer to them.
“Emotive terms make it very difficult for us to find a peaceful and sensible resolution to our problems,” Daw Aung San Suu Kyi told reporters, referring to the term ‘Rohingya’, which is highly controversial in Myanmar. Most Myanmar Buddhists believe the Muslim community to have emigrated from Bangladesh and refer to them as ‘Bengalis’.
Daw Suu also urged the international community to give her administration “enough space” to address the issue of the Rohingya in northern Rakhine State.
“All we are asking is people should be aware of the difficulties we are facing and to give us enough space to solve the problem,” the State Counsellor said.—GNLM

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