U.S. lawmakers want targeted sanctions on Myanmar military


Washington D.C. [U.S.A.], October 18: United States' Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday said that the US was concerned about the mass exodus of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar's Rakhine region, and held the country's military leadership accountable for the humanitarian crisis. The global parliamentary community, in a resolution that echoed Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's five-point peace plan, called for concrete steps from the United Nations Security Council-including creation of "safe zones" inside Myanmar-to put an end to the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya community.

The authorities in Myanmar "appear to be in denial of what has happened", the lawmakers said in a letter to Tillerson.

Washington has worked hard to establish close ties with Myanmar's civilian-led government led by Nobel laureate and former dissident Aung San Suu Kyi in the face of competition from strategic rival China.

In the last seven weeks, more than half a million Rohingya have fled Rakhine and crossed into Bangladesh.

Tillerson said Washington understood Myanmar had a militancy problem, but the military had to be disciplined and restrained in the way it dealt with this and to allow access to the region "so that we can get a full accounting of the circumstances".

The United Nations and the U.S. government hold the military responsible and are calling for stringent measures to deal with the crisis.

The authorities needed to allow access to northern Rakhine "so we can get a full accounting of the circumstances", the top United States diplomat said. It is frustrating to see that many countries, despite holding Myanmar's military leadership responsible for this situation, have failed to come up with an action plan.

He said that this is a real test for this power sharing government.