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Myanmar Observers Invited to US-Thailand Military Drills Despite Rohingya Issue

© Sputnik / Shahnewaz Khan /  / Go to the mediabankRohingya refugees in Bangladesh
Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Observers from Myanmar are invited to the military exercises of the United States and Thailand scheduled for next year, despite Washington's criticism toward country's domestic policy regarding the Rohingya people, Pentagon spokesman Christopher Logan said Saturday.

"Thailand has invited Burma to observer the humanitarian assistance disaster relief portion of the exercise," Logan told Sputnik.

The Cobra Gold exercise will take place next year. In addition to the military of the United States and Thailand, representatives of a number of other countries will take part in it.

A boat carrying Rohingya refugees is seen leaving Myanmar through Naf river while thousands other waiting in Maungdaw, Myanmar, September 7, 2017 - Sputnik International
About 655,000 Rohingya Refugees Fled to Bangladesh Since Late August - IOM
In late November, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called the situation with the Rohingya people in Myanmar "ethnic cleansing" and added that the United States continued to support an independent investigation in order to hold those responsible for the ethnic cleansing accountable. Prior to that, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also did not rule out that "ethnic cleansing" was taking place in Myanmar.

The conflict between the Rohingya, a Muslim minority in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, and the Bamar Buddhist majority dates back to the 20th century. The country’s authorities and the Buddhist population consider the Rohingya to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

The situation escalated in August, as the Myanmar government deployed police and military units to respond to Rohingya insurgents’ attacks on security posts. According to the International Organization for Migration, the ensuing violence drove more than 660,000 Rohingya across the border to Bangladesh.

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