Suu Kyi
Duterte apologizes to Myanmar over ‘genocide’
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - April 14, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A week after describing the military crackdown on Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority as a “genocide,” President Duterte yesterday issued a public apology to the country’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate and current state counsellor of Myanmar, has come under intense global criticism over her public silence regarding a brutal military crackdown that has forced nearly 700,000 Muslim Rohingya to flee the mainly Buddhist nation for Bangladesh.

Duterte’s original comments, made in a Manila speech a week ago, were a rare example of public criticism by the head of one Southeast Asian country of another.

“I will apologize to you, but if you have noticed, my statement was almost a satire,” Duterte told a pre-dawn news conference upon arrival at the Davao International Airport after attending the Boao Forum for Asia in China and Hong Kong.

Duterte said his original comments were intended as a dig at European countries that have criticized his deadly war on drugs, which has left thousands of suspects dead at the hands of the police in less than two years.

Duterte had told government officials in a speech on April 5 that European governments “can’t even solve” the problem in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

“That’s the real genocide, if I may (say) so,” he said, while qualifying that he was friends with Myanmar’s leader.

Duterte also said then that he was “willing to accept refugees” from Myanmar if Europe would take in others displaced there as well.

“They keep on criticizing us, Aung (San Suu) Kyi and the others. Now, why did I say that? Madam Chancellor, let me confess to you publicly, I was doing a – very sarcastic,” Duterte said yesterday as he apologized, his words trailing off. – With Edith Regalado, AFP

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