Myanmar warns UNSC move could jeopardise talks with Bangladesh

Myanmar has criticised a United Nations Security Council statement on the Rakhine State crisis, warning that it could jeopardise negotiations with Bangladesh that are aimed at resolving the situation.

The criticism was made by the Office of State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on November 7, a day after the 15-member council unanimously adopted the formal statement.

The council move “ignores the fact that the issues facing Myanmar and Bangladesh today can only be resolved bilaterally, in an amicable manner, between two neighbouring states”, the State Counsellor’s Office said in a statement.

The council had called on the Myanmar government “to ensure no further excessive use of military force in Rakhine State, to restore civilian administration and apply the rule of law, and to take immediate steps to in accordance with their obligations and commitment to respect human rights”.

The council also expressed “grave concern over reports of human rights abuses and violations in Rakhine State, including by the Myanmar security forces, in particular against persons belonging to the Rohingya community”.

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It said the exodus since late August of more than 600,000 people to Bangladesh to escape violence in northern Rakhine “has a destabilizing impact on the region”.

In its response, the State Counsellor’s Office said the council statement could “potentially and seriously harm the bilateral negotiations between the two countries which have been proceeding smoothly and expeditiously”.

Myanmar was in “in close negotiations with the Bangladesh authorities on an arrangement for the return of displaced persons from Rakhine State,” the office said.

It noted that the government had invited the Bangladeshi foreign minister to Myanmar from November 16 to 18 and the intention was “to reach an agreement satisfactory to both sides during the visit”.

The statement said Myanmar “appreciates the stand taken by some members of the Security Council who upheld the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign countries”.

This was an apparent reference to China, which had threatened to use its veto power on the council to block any resolution on Rakhine, but was reported to have agreed to the formal statement following negotiations with diplomats from Britain and France.

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