Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has reportedly promised to facilitate the safe repatriation of Rohingya people who fled from the strife-torn Rakhine state to Bangladesh.
Suu Kyi made the assurance after “concern” for the welfare of the displaced Rohingyas was raised during the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plenary summit led by President Duterte on Monday, reports Manila Bulletin.
According to Presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr., the return of the Rohingyas to their homeland will reportedly be made three weeks following Myanmar’s agreement with Bangladesh on the matter.
When the Rohingya refugee situation was tackled at the ASEAN summit, Roque told Palace reporters: “Myanmar responded: Kofi Annan report being addressed.”
“Humanitarian assistance is welcomed; and repatriation of IDPs (internally displaced persons) within three weeks after MoU (memorandum of understanding) signing with Bangladesh,” Roque added.
Roque said the Philippines acknowledged the need for relief assistance not only to the displaced families of Marawi City but also the Rohingya refugees.
More than 500,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled violence and threats in Rakhine, Myanmar and sought refuge in Bangladesh.
The United Nations earlier accused Myanmar’s military of deliberately driving out the Rohingyas from the country. A UN report claimed that the Myanmar’s military operations were part of the plan to keep them across the border.
Myanmar authorities however explained that the military operations were supposedly meant to combat the terrorism threat and restore stability in Rakhine.
Apart from the Rohingya refugee situation, the ASEAN leaders also discussed counterterrorism efforts, the South China Sea issue and the tension in the Korean peninsula, among others, during the plenary summit.
On the disputed waters, Roque said the Philippines mentioned it was looking forward to China’s announcement on the crafting of the code of conduct to ease the tension in the South China Sea.
Roque said the Philippines also cited the importance of freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. “With peace, (the region) can focus on cooperation,” he said.