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    Pope Francis gives a speech during a meeting with members of the civil society and diplomatic corps in Naypyitaw, Myanmar

    Myanmar's Civilian Leader Responds to Pope's Appeal to Ensure Justice

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    Myanmar’s State Councilor Aung San Suu Kyi has said that her government is working towards ensuring justice for all in response to Pope Francis’ appeal. Experts say the speeches were in good spirit but much more is needed for the situation on the ground to change.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — Pope Francis has made a direct appeal to the civilian leadership in Myanmar to ensure justice for all ethnic groups irrespective of who they are. The Pope, who is currently visiting the South Asian country in his capacity as the head of the Vatican, made the appeal after a crucial meeting with Myanmar’s State Councilor and topmost civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday in the capital Naypyitaw.

    READ MORE: Pope Francis Calls for Justice in Myanmar, Doesn't Mention Rohingya Specifically

    Meanwhile, Aung San Sun Kyi, in her reply to the Pope’s appeal said that her government was steadfastly working towards ensuring justice for all.

    “Of the many challenges that our government has been facing, the situation in the Rakhine has most strongly captured the attention of the world,” Suu Kyi said in her official welcome speech after meeting with the Pope privately.

    Experts say that the speeches by the Pope as well as Suu Kyi were in the right spirit but do not guarantee a change in the ground situation.

    “The humanitarian disaster created in Rakhine state is unmatched in recent world history. Such comments by a spiritual leader of the stature of the Pope definitely create a moral pressure on the Myanmar government. But now the point is who is listening. Will it change the situation on the ground and the appeal for forgiveness must apply to everyone including the Myanmar government,” Dr Alwar Hossain, Professor of International Relations at the University of Dhaka told Sputnik.

    Nevertheless, the Pope’s appeal and the response it garnered were hailed as a welcome attempt by a world leader to foster peace and unity in the strife-ridden country.

    “The Pope in his address in the attendance of Aung San Suu Kyi stressed the fact that for Myanmar and its future it is highly important to ensure rights and justice for all ethnic groups. I would like to say that it is, in fact, a direct show of solidarity and support to the persecuted Rohingya Muslim community of Myanmar. Though he may not have mentioned the name of the community, the message is very direct,” George Kallivayalil, Associate Editor and Delhi Bureau Chief of Deepika Malayalam Daily accompanying Pope in his tour told Sputnik.

    READ MORE: Tillerson on Rohingya Crisis: 'It's Clearly Ethnic Cleansing'

    Pope Francis on Wednesday led a common mass or Catholic worship in Yangon’s Kyaikkasan Ground.

    “The address of the Pope in the Mass was focused on forgiveness and giving up on the sense of revenge. He said to strive for revenge is a temptation which must be resisted and instead, forgiveness must be the priority,” Kallivayalil told Sputnik.

    Around 150,000 participants including those hailing from neighboring Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and many other South East Asian countries attended the Holy Mass led by the Pope, according to local reports. The Catholic community in Myanmar is just above one percent of the total population.

    READ MORE: Ray of Hope for Peace: Pope Francis Arrives in Myanmar Amid Rohingya Crisis

    In the second leg of his tour, Pope Francis is leaving for Dhaka on Thursday where he is slated to meet Rohingya refugees and also hold a mass for the faithful.

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