THE EU’s foreign policy chief on Monday (20) hailed “extremely encouraging” talks with Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi on the Rohingya crisis, welcoming steps towards the repatriation of Muslims driven into Bangladesh.
Federica Mogherini joined diplomats meeting Suu Kyi in recent days as efforts intensify to resolve a crisis that has pushed 620,000 members of the Muslim minority into Bangladesh.
China has made a “three-phrase” proposal to resolve the crisis, involving a ceasefire, refugee repatriation and poverty alleviation. A Beijing foreign ministry spokesman on Monday said its plan had won the approval of leaders in Bangladesh and Myanmar.
China has pumped billions of dollars into both countries as it widens its regional infrastructure and trade networks. Beijing is seeking access to Myanmar’s west coast for ports and pipelines, including in Rakhine state.
The Chinese plan to end the crisis would start with a ceasefire in Rakhine “so local residents can no longer be displaced”, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said.
Mogherini, who visited refugee camps in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar over the weekend, emerged from Monday’s talks with Suu Kyi in a positive mood.
“I found it (talks) extremely encouraging,” she said in Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw. “I am encouraged by the possibility – that I believe is real and concrete – of Myanmar and Bangladesh” reaching an agreement for the repatriation of refugees.