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Myanmar not to include Rohingya issue in ASEAN confab

Ye Htut, a spokesman 
By PressTV
January 16, 2014

Myanmar has balked at including
talks on the Rohingya Muslim community at the meeting of South-East Asian
foreign ministers the country will host.
The meeting of foreign ministers
of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) will open in the city of
Bagan on Thursday. Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw will also host the first ASEAN
summit in early May.
“The Bengali issue is our
internal affair and we will not discuss it in the ASEAN meetings even if member
countries ask for it,” said Ye Htut, a spokesman for Myanmar President Thein
Sein. Myanmar’s government officials refer to the Rohingya Muslims as
“Bengalis.”
Meanwhile, Ye Htut expressed the government’s
willingness to take advice on the issue from other countries, saying, “They may
have experience in solving such problems peacefully, so we will accept the
advice that suits our country.”
Myanmar’s government refuses to
recognize Rohingya Muslims as citizens and labels them as “illegal” immigrants.
Rohingya Muslims have been denied
citizenship since a new citizenship law was enacted in 1982.
Violence originally targeted
Rohingya Muslims in western Myanmar, and then spread to other parts of the
country, where Muslims who have been granted citizenship are also being
attacked.
The Myanmar government has so far
refused to release the stateless Rohingyas from their citizenship limbo,
despite international pressure to give them a legal status.
Hundreds of Rohingyas are
believed to have been killed and thousands displaced in attacks by Buddhist
extremists.

The extremists frequently attack
Rohingyas and set fire to their homes in several villages in the western state
of Rakhine.