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A group of Rohingya refugees cross a canal after traveling over the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in Teknaf, Bangladesh.   © Reuters

Rakhine crisis: Still time for a course correction

Amid humanitarian disaster, Myanmar's allies could help resolve Rohingya dilemma

| Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos

Over the past five years, Myanmar's governments have either asked the international community for patience, rejected criticism or turned down offers of help over handling the Rohingya Muslim minority in Rakhine State. Now the state is engulfed in a refugee crisis amid harsh military operations that have targeted both civilians and alleged "terrorists."

The unilateral offer by Rohingya militants of a month-long cease-fire, announced on Saturday, is unlikely to have any impact without the agreement of Myanmar's security forces -- which, judging by the ferocity of their "clearance operations," seems remote. Myanmar is running out of time, and if it wants to prevent a humanitarian disaster and further radicalization of its own western border, it must turn to its friends to help resolve the situation.

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