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Myanmar agrees to UN Security Council visit after months of resistance and fleeing of 700,000 Rohingya

Myanmar gives green light for UN Security Council visit after months of resistance, but it is unclear whether they will be allowed to go to Rakhine state

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 April, 2018, 5:21am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 April, 2018, 5:44am

Myanmar has agreed to a visit by the UN Security Council after months of resistance, but it remains unclear whether ambassadors will be allowed to go to Rakhine state, the body’s president said Monday.

Nearly 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have been driven out of Rakhine state after crackdowns by the Myanmar army in August and are living in crowded refugee camps in Bangladesh.

After the council proposed a visit in February, Myanmar’s government said it was “not the right time”, but it has now given the green light.

No date for the trip has been announced.

Peruvian Ambassador Gustavo Meza-Cuadra, who holds the council’s rotating presidency, said details of the itinerary had yet to be finalised, including whether the government would allow the council to visit Rakhine state.

“Obviously, we’re interested in Rakhine state,” said Meza-Cuadra. “There’s nothing better than a visit on the ground to see how it is.”

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Britain, Kuwait and Peru are organising the council’s visit, which would include a tour of Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. 

Myanmar authorities say the operation in Rakhine state is aimed at rooting out extremists, but the UN Security Council is demanding that the Rohingya be allowed to safely return home.

The council is also planning a trip to Iraq, in a show of support before parliamentary and provincial assembly elections on May 12.

Iraq “needs support from the international community for rebuilding the country and to ensure reconciliation” after Baghdad’s successful campaign to re-take territory from Islamic State, Meza-Cuadra said.