The US decision to label the Myanmar Armyâ€™s counter-insurgency operation in northern Rakhine as â€œethnic cleansingâ€ is â€œunhelpfulâ€ for Myanmarâ€™s efforts to bring about durable peace in the state, Presidentâ€™s Office spokesperson U Zaw Htay said.
After avoiding the term during his visit to Myanmar last week, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday (Nov 22) described the Myanmar Armyâ€™s actions against Rohingya Muslims as â€œethnic cleansingâ€.
The crisis developed after an Aug. 25 attack by militants against government security forces sparked a military clearance operation, which prompted over 600,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee into Bangladesh amid allegations of human rights abuses.
â€œThe situation in northern Rakhine State constitutes ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya,â€ Tillerson said in a statement.
â€œThat statement is unhelpful for Myanmar [which is] trying to find long-term solutions. We found that the statement failed to mention the killings of Hindus and innocent civilians by ARSA, and its conclusions were reached without any proven facts,â€ U Zaw Htay told The Irrawaddy.
Washington will also pursue accountability through U.S. law, including possible targeted sanctions against those responsible for the alleged abuses, which have driven hundreds of thousands of Rohingya into Bangladesh, according to the statement.