LONDON (Sputnik) – UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson expressed hope that Myanmar State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will exert efforts to put an end to violent sectarian clashes in the western state of Rakhine and to unite the country.
"Aung Sang Suu Kyi is rightly regarded as one of the most inspiring figures of our age but the treatment of the Rohingya is alas besmirching the reputation of Burma. She faces huge challenges in modernising her country. I hope she can now use all her remarkable qualities to unite her country, to stop the violence and to end the prejudice that afflicts both muslims and other communities in Rakhine," Johnson said in a statement Saturday.
Last week, Muslim insurgents of Rohingya origin attacked security posts in Rakhine. The attacks prompted a harsh response from authorities, with the ongoing clashes between Burmese armed forces and Muslim insurgents killing at least 109 people. More than 18,000 Rohingya refugees have fled to Bangladesh since ethnic clashes flared up in Rakhine state, according to the International Organization for Migration's (IOM).
Rakhine is a site of frequent clashes between Myanmar's Muslims and Buddhists. The conflict that started about a century ago has gradually escalated since 2011 before hitting its peak in 2012, when thousands of Muslim families sought asylum in the special refugee camps on the country's territory or fled to Bangladesh. Yet another escalation started in 2016.