Myanmar’s handling of Rohingya was ‘without excuse’: US Vice-President

Amnesty international strips Myanmar leader of award after her failure to help the Rohingya

Amnesty international strips Myanmar leader of award after her failure to help the Rohingya

"The violence and persecution by military and vigilantes that resulted in driving 700,000 Rohingya to Bangladesh is without excuse", he told Suu Kyi.

He added that he was eager to hear about how Myanmar will enable the Rohingya to voluntary return home.

Pence also said that Washington wanted to see a free and democratic press in Myanmar, commenting: "In America, we believe in our democratic institutions and ideals, including a free and independent press", Pence said.

Pence met Suu Kyi on the sidelines of an Asia summit in Singapore.

Myanmar says its operations in Rakhine were a legitimate response to attacks on security forces by Rohingya insurgents in August a year ago.

Mahathir is known for his forthright views, but such public rebukes are rare among ASEAN leaders. He said the issue of Rohingya had come up during a working dinner among the leaders but the main sentiment was a desire to resolve the problem.

Suu Kyi became a democracy icon during Myanmar's long years of military dictatorship when she spent some 15 years under house arrest. The military is in charge of security operations, including those in Rakhine.

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According to a CNN tally, 10 incoming freshman have said they'd oppose Pelosi, while 13 incumbents have vowed to oppose her. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks during the Polk County Democrats Spring Dinner, May 6, 2018, in Des Moines, Iowa.

But she has faced widespread criticism for not speaking out in defence of the Rohingya.

Human rights group Amnesty International this week stripped her of its highest honour over what it said was her "indifference" to the plight of the Rohingya. "I'm sure you will say the same of yours, that you understand your own country better than anybody else".

Suu Kyi said only Myanmar was in a position to explain what happened and how it saw things, just as Americans could best understand what is happening there.

Pence said the meeting was at Suu Kyi's request.

Pence also urged Suu Kyi to pardon the imprisoned journalists.

The draft statement repeated ASEAN's previous calls on the importance of the repatriation of refugees to Myanmar, humanitarian relief and reconciliation among communities, but will apparently go further in calling for accountability for alleged atrocities the United Nations has said constitute crimes against humanity. Meanwhile, the UN's human rights head warned that the sufferings of the persecuted Rohingya would increase if Bangladesh and Burma proceeded with their repatriation plans.

Dozens of Rohingya Muslim families have escaped from refugee camps in Bangladesh to avoid being repatriated to Myanmar, Reuters and local Bangladeshi newspapers report.

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