Tillerson refuses to label Rohingya crisis ‘ethnic cleansing’

(CNN) US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says more information is necessary before Washington agrees with the US that the Rohingya crisis on Myanmar constitutes ethnic cleansing.

In a joint press conference Wednesday alongside Myanmar’s de facto innovator Aung San Suu Kyi, Tillerson called for a complete and independent investigation in to the situation in Rakhine state.

“We are incredibly concerned by studies of widespread atrocities dedicated by Myanmar reliability forces,” Tillerson said.

“What we realize occurred in Rakhine express … includes a number of features of crimes against humanity,” he added.

“Whether it meets all of the requirements of ethnic cleansing we continue steadily to determine ourselves.”

Myanmar’s innovator Aung San Suu Kyi, ideal, shakes hands with browsing US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Naypyitaw, Myanmar.

A lot more than 615,000 Rohingya refugees have fled the united states since August 25, according to assist agencies, pouring into neighboring Bangladesh, which has struggled to deal with the influx.

However, Tillerson was adamant that broad-based sanctions — as some have called for in Washington — weren’t a remedy to the crisis.

During his go to to the Myanmar capital Naypyidaw, his primary to the united states, Tillerson pledged yet another $47 million in help for refugees, bringing the total the united states has earmarked meant for the crisis to $87 million since August.

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Sanctions skepticism

Refugees have fled violent clashes in the north of Rakhine express, where Myanmar’s military offers intensified what it cell phone calls “clearance functions” targeting “terrorists” after Rohingya militants attacked police articles , killing 12 reliability officials.

Continuing reports of horrific troubled and atrocities because the crisis escalated possess intensified criticism of Myanmar’s government and Suu Kyi specifically.

Representatives of the US and europe have described the problem as “ethnic cleansing,” an assessment echoed by British Prime Minister Theresa May this week

On the other hand, Tillerson said more information was needed for Washington to make use of that language, and called for an independent inquiry in to the causes of the crisis and alleged atrocities.

“The United States will work with our companions to make sure there are implications for individuals confirmed to have been responsible for atrocities,” he said.

Those consequences could include targeted sanctions, but Tillerson was apparent he felt broad-based sanctions targeting the Myanmar government or various other institutions weren’t appropriate.

“We prefer Myanmar to succeed, we want its democracy to succeed,” he said. “I’ve a hard time seeing how (broad-based sanctions) help this crisis.”

Acknowledging proponents of sanctions are “good intentioned,” he called for patience in dealing with the “highly complex situation” in Rakhine.

“It’s difficult if you are sitting half way all over the world and you see the photographs from the refugee camps in Bangladesh to not want to merely rush to accomplish something,” he said.

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‘I have not been silent’

Speaking alongside Tillerson, Suu Kyi explained what was “most important, is that people bring peace and stableness to this country, that may only be done on the basis of the rule of law.”

Because the crisis began, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate has come in for extreme criticism from the international community.

In a highly publicized September speech on the problem in Rakhine, Suu Kyi said Myanmar was not “afraid of worldwide scrutiny,” but didn’t denounce alleged atrocities against the Rohingya community and seemed to ignore the findings of a report commissioned by her administration.

Myanmar considers the Rohingya refugees illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh, despite the fact that many Rohingya families have lived in Rakhine for many years. Bangladesh considers them Burmese.

Responding to a question about her alleged silence upon the problem Wednesday, Suu Kyi explained “My spouse and i haven’t been silent.”

“What people mean is normally what I say is not interesting enough,” she explained. “My statements aren’t meant to be enjoyable, they are designed to be accurate.”

“I’ve not been silent, (but) I’ve not been making extremely incendiary statements,” Suu Kyi added, before thanking Tillerson for the “open mindedness with that you came here.”

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