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Myanmar terminates Bill Richardson's participation in advisory board on Rakhine state


The spectacular public affray appears to mark the end of a three-decade political friendship, during which Richardson said he lobbied for Suu Kyi's release from house arrest.

Duterte said he had a chance to talk to Suu Kyi, Myanmar's state counselor, and told the latter not to mind her critics.

"The board feels that constructive and positive work can be done to help bring peace, reconciliation and economic progress for all communities in the Rakhine state", the statement said. Richardson however the board he was on of dragging its feet, of becoming a "cheerleading squad for government policy as opposed to proposing genuine policy changes that are desperately needed". "He should review himself over his personal attack against our State Counsellor", government spokesman Zaw Htay told AFP, using Suu Kyi's title. During the meeting, Richardson tried to raise the issue of two Reuters reporters who have been detained in connection with their coverage of events in Rakhine. "However, he needs to understand, rather than blaming the Myanmar nation and the State Counsellor".

Richardson had previously said he got into a furious argument with Suu Kyi at a Monday night dinner when he brought up the case of two Reuters reporters, who were arrested on December 12 on suspicion of violating Myanmar's Official Secrets Act.

Richardson said in an interview with Reuters on Wednesday that he was resigning from the board because it was conducting a "whitewash" and accused Myanmar's leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, of lacking "moral leadership".

Roque cited Myanmar's efforts which included the setting up of an Advisory Commission on Rakhine State led by former UN Secretary-General Dr. Kofi Annan, and the establishment of a ministerial-level committee to ensure that the recommendations of the Commission are implemented expeditiously.




Richardson also did not feel Surakiart was committed to addressing the root causes of the conflict in Rakhine.

The ARSA extremist terrorists launched attacks on police outposts in Rakhine on August 25 previous year, displacing residents from a number of areas in Maungtaw district. On the contrary, the board welcomed more participation of the United Nations and the global community.

Many people in Buddhist-majority Burma regard the Rohingya as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

According to the agreement, the whole repatriation process would have lasted for two years as it involves millions of refugees. The process was supposed to begin on Tuesday but has been delayed due to the Rohingya refusing to return unless their human rights are recognised and with NGOs and the United Nations reporting ongoing burning of Rohingya villages along with killings and rape.

In the statement, the board said it meant to engage in an open dialogue with all relevant stakeholders, although it recognised that it is not an investigation body.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said he advised Nobel Peace Prize victor, Aung San Suu Kyi, to ignore criticisms from human rights organizations as he continued to lambast critics of his drug war. "Now she is heavily criticized", said Duterte.

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