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Malaysia wants Myanmar meet over violence in Rakhine

Foreign minister requests appointment with state counselor Aung San Suu Kyi to talk ongoing violence against Rohingya

Malaysia wants Myanmar meet over violence in Rakhine

By P Prem Kumar


Malaysia's foreign minister has requested an immediate appointment with Myanmar state counselor Aung San Suu Kyi to discuss ongoing violence against Rohingya in Rakhine State.

Deputy Foreign Minister Reezal Merican Naina Merican said Tuesday that Anifah Aman had sent an official request to Myanmar's Foreign Ministry -- also headed by Suu Kyi.

"We will find the soonest date for the meeting. We have already expressed our objection to the Myanmar government," he told reporters.

He said that Aman had also highlighted Malaysia's strongest protest against any form of violence against Rohingya.

Rohingya advocacy groups claim around 400 Rohingya have been killed in military operations in northern Rakhine since the Oct. 9 deaths of nine Myanmar border police officials, while Myanmar says just 86 people -- 17 soldiers and 69 alleged "attackers" -- have been killed.

Humanitarian outfits have called for an independent probe into the initial attacks, the ongoing operations and reported rapes and rights abuses in Rakhine, as with the area placed under military lockdown, rights groups and international reporters have been unable to enter.

Merican said Tuesday that senior officials in the foreign ministry had also conveyed the urgency of the proposed meeting to Myanmar's ambassador to Malaysia.

"We conveyed Malaysia's concern over the situation in Rakhine and the meeting is very important and it needs to take place soon," he added.

On Friday, hundreds of people held a demonstration in front of Myanmar's embassy to protest "atrocities" against Rohingya.

A second protest is to take place in Kuala Lumpur on Dec. 4.

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