Myanmar agrees to UN Security Council visit

UNITED NATIONS • Myanmar has agreed to a visit by the United Nations Security Council after months of resistance, but it remains unclear whether ambassadors will be allowed to go to Rakhine state, the body's president said.

Nearly 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have sought shelter in southern Bangladesh since Myanmar launched a crackdown on insurgents last August that the United States and UN have called ethnic cleansing.

After the council proposed a visit in February, Myanmar's government said it was "not the right time", but it has now given the green light.

Peruvian Ambassador Gustavo Meza-Cuadra, who holds the council's rotating presidency, said on Monday that details of the itinerary had yet to be finalised, including whether the government would allow the council to visit Rakhine state. "Obviously, we are interested in Rakhine state," said Mr Meza-Cuadra. "There is nothing better than a visit on the ground to see how it is."

Britain, Kuwait and Peru are organising the council's visit, which would include a tour of Rohingya refugee camps in Cox's Bazar. No date for the trip has been announced.

The Myanmar authorities say the operation in Rakhine state is aimed at rooting out extremists, but the Security Council is demanding that the Rohingya be allowed to return home safely.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 04, 2018, with the headline 'Myanmar agrees to UN Security Council visit'. Print Edition | Subscribe