Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi sits beside Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano during the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in Sydney.

Cayetano: Myanmar's Suu Kyi acknowledged Philippines assistance in Rakhine State
Patricia Lourdes Viray ( - March 21, 2018 - 12:36pm
MANILA, Philippines — Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi acknowledged the Philipines and Thailand for providing humanitarian assistance to affected communities in Rakhine State, the Philippines' top diplomat said.
Late last year, Suu Kyi personally asked Philippine Red Cross Chair and Sen. Richard Gordon to send humanitarian workers and volunteers to Myanmar.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said the Rohingya crisis was discussed during the recently concluded ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in Sydney.
"She singled out Thailand and Philippines who have been quiet but been helping a lot through our Red Cross. Nagpapasalamat siya kay, of course, kay Sen. Dick Gordon for that and then sa Thai Red Cross," Cayetano said in a press briefing Tuesday.
The Myanmar leader lamented that the "noisiest" countries on the Rohingya issue are the ones not helping, contrary to what the Philippines and Thailand have been doing, Cayetano said.
Suu Kyi was also complaining about how the international media portrays the plight of the Rohingya people, who have fled after the destruction of homes in the northern Rakhine province of Myanmar.
"First, complain ni Aung San Suu Kyi that the international media is not giving the true picture of what’s happening. They’re showing picture of what’s happening dun sa refugees at dun sa Bangladesh but not the country and how complex it is," the Foreign Affairs secretary said.
Cayetano noted that during the meeting between Australia and Southeast Asian nations, the leaders agreed that everyone wants to solve the problem and that the issue is complex.
"More than 100 ethnic groups ng Myanmar and even the Rakhine state, hindi lang 'yung armado doon is not just the military, not just elements nung pinagbibintangang military na nag-cause ng terrorism but 'yung ibang ethnic group doon armed din," Cayetano said.
The Foreign Affairs chief added that Myanmar has been taking initiative to explain the situation in the country during past ASEAN meetings.
Cayetano described the ASEAN-Australia Summit as "engaging" as Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made the meeting interactive.
Following the meeting between Australia and the 10-member regional bloc, Turnbull said that Suu Kyi addressed the matter "comprehensively" and that the leaders discussed the issue "very constructively."
ASEAN leaders said they were working to provide humanitarian assistance for the continuing crisis involving Muslim Rohingya refugees. More than 600,000 refugees have fled to neighboring Bangladesh following Myanmar's military campaign, which the UN dubbed as "ethnic cleansing."
Singapore's Lee noted that ASEAN policy means it was "not able to intervene and to force an outcome" over the Rohingya crisis but the matter was a cause of concern for all ASEAN members as they would be anxious "if there is any instability or any trouble" in fellow member countries. — with reports from Associated Press

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