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Europe pledges strong support to Bangladesh over Rohingya crisis

Europe pledges strong support to Bangladesh over Rohingya crisis

Deadly attacks by Rohingya insurgents on August 25 sparked a massive backlash from Myanmar's security forces that the United Nations says may amount to "ethnic cleansing". China, a long-standing friend of Burma during the Southeast Asian country's isolation from the West, has been helping shield Burma from the criticism.

Bangladesh, which already hosted some 250,000 Rohingya before the current exodus, wants the latest arrivals to return swiftly and is keen to enlist help from China, a staunch ally of Myanmar.

The session of the Asia-Europe Meeting will not directly discuss the crisis involving 600,000 Rohingya Muslims who have fled since August from Rakhine state in western Myanmar to neighboring Bangladesh, to escape atrocities reportedly being committed by Myanmar security forces.

"We came to know the refugees have been victims of barbaric attack, killing and repression carried out by Myanmar's army in the Rakhine state", he said.

The third stage was for the global community to help develop Rakhine, he said.

Burmese and Bangladesh officials began talks last month to settle a repatriation process for refugees, and Bangladesh's foreign minister expects to take those talks to the next level in coming days.

Bangladesh has launched talks with Myanmar aimed at a deal to repatriate Rohingya refugees and Dhaka's foreign minister will address the matter at talks in Myanmar this week, the Bangladeshi foreign ministry said on Sunday.

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Japan's emphasis on cooperative relations with Myanmar comes as China deepens its involvement in the country through the "One Belt, One Road" economic initiative.

"I am very encouraged by the willingness and readiness of the state counselor to go in that direction", she said.

Burmese state media said the meeting was being attended by senior officials of the ASEAN Secretariat, 28 member countries of the European Union, two non-EU member countries, 10 member countries of ASEAN, 11 countries of Northeast and South Asia, totalling 51 countries. The Rohingya, he said, could only return if Buddhist citizens accepted them-a highly unlikely scenario given that the minority are so widely loathed and ostracized inside Myanmar.

Kono was speaking after visiting Rohingya refugee camp in Cox's Bazar's Kutupalong area. We are fully aware that it has deep historical roots and we acknowledge Myanmar's efforts towards resolving the issues faced by the Rakhine State.

"[Rather] than putting pressure, our approach is always and will be to offer a negotiation space".

A draft of the chair's statement obtained by Kyodo News shows the ministers will not directly discuss the humanitarian crisis in the host country's Rakhine State that has seen over half a million Muslim Rohingya flee to the safety of Bangladesh. "We hope that we manage to help in finding a sustainable solution", she said.

Wang was scheduled to attend the two-day the 13th Asia-Europe Foreign Ministers' Meeting which will be held in Nay Pyi Taw starting today.