ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, left, talks with Federica Mogherini, the EU's top diplomat, in Naypyitaw on Nov. 20.
Rohingya crisis

EU pushes Myanmar for speedy end to refugee crisis

Suu Kyi stresses threats from illegal migration and extremism

YUICHI NITTA, Nikkei staff writer | Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos

NAYPYITAW -- European foreign ministers on Monday urged Myanmar to work quickly to resolve the Rohingya refugee crisis and lauded progress toward a repatriation agreement with Bangladesh.

European Union representatives met unofficially with State Counselor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's de facto leader, ahead of the Asia-Europe Meeting of foreign ministers that began here that day. Bangladesh, where hundreds of thousands of refugees from the ethnic Muslim minority have fled from Myanmar's neighboring Rakhine state, was represented as well.

The Myanmar side outlined the country's response to the crisis at the request of the EU representatives, according to a diplomatic insider familiar with the discussion.

Federica Mogherini, the EU's high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, told reporters after the unofficial meeting that she is "very much encouraged by the possibility" that is "real and concrete of Myanmar and Bangladesh reaching an agreement on a bilateral memorandum of understanding" for refugee repatriation.

She pushed for further action, saying that "we believe that stopping the violence, stopping the flow of refugees, and guaranteeing full humanitarian access to Rakhine state and a safe, sustainable repatriation of the refugees is going to be key."

In a speech at the ASEM opening ceremony, Suu Kyi warned of the global threats posed by illegal migration and the spread of terrorism and violent extremism. Some saw this as an effort to justify the military crackdown as a response to attacks by Rohingya militants on government security forces.

The United Nations estimates that more than 620,000 Rohingya have crossed the border into Bangladesh since the clashes in late August. Suu Kyi said in September that Myanmar was ready to begin at any time the verification process for repatriating refugees. But no concrete progress has been made, as the two sides remain at odds over the total number of refugees and the requirements for their return.

Kazuyuki Nakane, a Japanese state minister for foreign affairs, met Monday with Myanmar military chief Min Aung Hlaing and urged him to take appropriate action against any human rights violations.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 1 month for $0.99

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends October 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to Nikkei Asia has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more