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Myanmar sanctions 'not advisable' at this time: Tillerson


US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Wednesday that levying sanctions against Myanmar over the Rohingya crisis was "not advisable" at this time, following a meeting with the country's army and civilian leaders.

Rex Tillerson

"Sanctions are not advisable at this time," Washington's top diplomat said at a press briefing in the capital Naypyidaw.

"We want to see Myanmar succeed... I have a hard time seeing how that (sanctions) helps resolve this crisis," he added.

More than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh since late August, driven out by a Myanmar military counter-insurgency clearance operation in Rakhine State that a top UN official has described as a textbook case of "ethnic cleansing".

"Scenes of what occurred are just horrific," Tillerson said.

Human rights groups have branded as a "whitewash" the military's internal investigation into those allegations, after its findings were posted this week on the Facebook page of the army chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.

Arriving in the Myanmar capital Naypyitaw, Tillerson went straight to see Min Aung Hlaing before a separate meeting with Suu Kyi.

Tillerson and Suu Kyi had met on Tuesday during an Asian summit in the Philippines, where the Nobel peace prize winner sought to explain her government's efforts to resolve the crisis and its plans for the eventual voluntary repatriation of Rohingya.

A senior US State Department official travelling with Tillerson told journalists on Tuesday the secretary would tell the army chief that peace and stability needed to be restored to northern Rakhine so that Rohingya refugees could return home.


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