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Burma attracts contempt for the Rohingya crisis, but few urge sanctions
MYANMAR' s violent anti-Rohingya nation was condemned internationally, but there were few demands for a comeback to the kind of sanction that has long been part of the country' s relations with the West. Following last month's attack by a Rohingya group of militants on Myanmar militia stations, Myanmar's army and vigilantes started a raid in the state of Rakhine, which triggered a fugitive fire that sent more than 400,000 Rohingya to neighbouring Bangladesh.
Boris Johnson, the British Minister for External Relations, held a personal debate on Monday on the Rohingya crises among the UN General Assembly of the United Nations in Brussels. Myanmar's de facto leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi last weeks decision not to participate in the General Assembly, where she would probably have voiced a wave of criticisms.
Mr Johnson did not say anything about whether the Myanmar administration can expect to be sanctioned. Speaking at his offices, he urged Ms Aung San Suu Kyi to take action to stop the war. Myanmar's Myanmar International Securities Advisor attended the meeting, which was close for the media. The United Nations will have the authority to apply restrictive measures against Myanmar, but this outlook is unlikely for the time being.
Myanmar's administration has said it is working with Russia and China, which are members of the Security Council, to stop all attempts to prosecute them for the repression in Rakhine. Last weeks Security Council condemned the violent acts, its first such united declaration on Myanmar in nine years.
However, China obstructed Egypt's efforts to include a voice that guarantees Rohingya returnees the right to come back to Myanmar from Bangladesh, Agence France-Presse said. Myanmar, a predominantly Buddhaist state, does not recognise the Rohingya, most of whom are Muslims, as people. As local forces compete for power in Myanmar, China's administration sees great opportunities to support Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy while facing global critique, said Yun Sun, a scientist at the Stimson Center in Washington.
"Rather, we win the government's prospective friendship," Ms. Sun said. Myanmar state news agency cited China's ambassadors in Myanmar last weekend as saying his own nation was supporting the suppression in Rakhine. Another indication of China's rapprochement with Myanmar was the opening last weekend of a temporary contact centre in Naypyidaw, the secluded town, which was opened in 2005 as the Myanmar capitol.
China's assistance to take action could be due in part to the recent opening of an offshore petroleum station in Kyaukpyu harbour in the south of Rakhine. Human Rights Watch on Monday demanded specific penalties against the Myanmar army. Myanmar - or Burma as it was formerly known - was one of the most insulated nations for many years, with the United States and other West European nations imposing penalties on their army dictators.
However, as the army has progressively given up part of its policy controls, the country's interaction has increased drastically. After the 2012 election, the European Union and the United States withdrew comprehensive penalties. Last year President Barack Obama withdrew the penalties for Washington's assistance to the Myanmar administration and the limitations on several dozens of persons associated with the former army might.
This step was taken in acknowledgement of the progress of Myanmar's democratic system. However, humanitarian groups feared that this would also diminish the influence of the United States on the Rohingya. Senator John McCain of Arizona last weekend said he would withdraw the speech from a defence law that would finance military co-operation between the United States and Myanmar.
Mr McCain has asked Mrs Aung San Suu Kyi to do more to help the Rohingya. Aung San Suu Kyi, who was honoured with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her long fight against government, has many supporters among legislators around the globe, and this could protect Myanmar from more serious criticism from the United States and other government.
Senate majoritarian Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said last weeks that "the public condemnation of Aung San Suu Kyi, the best prospect of Burma's democracy reforms, is just not upbeat. "He noted that under Myanmar's constitution she is excluded from the chairmanship and her civil administration has no power over the army.
Mr Somini Sengupta was a contributor to United Nations reports.