Has the Rohingya disaster modified Suu Kyi?

Laura Christensen
January 28, 2018

But in working for the release of detained Reuters journalists in Myanmar, he hit a brick wall. He had used extreme, un-parliamentary words for former US President Barack Obama.

U.S. diplomat Bill Richardson was accused of a "personal attack" on Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi after an excoriating take down of the former darling of the global rights community as he resigned from a panel on the Rohingya crisis.

She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for standing up against the military-backed government. He suggested her reaction was stronger than those of some of the most notorious leaders of other authoritarian regimes he has dealt with.

The Burmese-language version said they chose to "terminate" his participation.

The one-time Aung San Suu Kyi ally pulled few punches, slamming the Nobel Laureate for an "absence of moral leadership" over Rakhine. "Well, maybe former friend because I'm sure she doesn't consider me a friend".

"She blames all the problems that Myanmar is having on the worldwide media, on the United Nations, on human rights groups, on other governments, and I think this is caused by the bubble that is around her, by individuals that are not giving her frank advice", Richardson, once a close friend of Suu Kyi, said Wednesday in an interview with The Associated Press in Yangon, Myanmar's largest city.

Richardson described the body as a "whitewash" aimed at justifying the government's actions in Rakhine.

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"And I think Aung San Suu Kyi has brought this upon herself, the constant disparagement of the global community, which I think can be helpful to her".

His criticisms raise further doubts about a deal to repatriate almost 700,000 Rohingya refugees stuck in Bangladesh.

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. Suu Kyi herself was kept under house arrest for a decade and a half to 2010.

Richardson joined the Myanmar board as a private citizen, but the US State Department said the Washington administration shares many of his concerns. He said a previous commission on Rakhine State, led by former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, set a valid precedent for the body that Richardson resigned from. The argument would resume later that evening at dinner Richardson said, according to the report.

"In view of the difference of opinion that developed, the government decided that his continued participation on the (advisory) board would not be the best interest of all concerned", the statement said.Prior to that statement, a spokesman for Suu Kyi told CNN "we are very sorry about Mr Richardson's resignation". It had made recommendations for more press freedom, he said. They said I killed 10,000.

"I think the Myanmar military is to blame a lot and the only person that can turn them around, I believe, is Aung San Suu Kyi, and she should start doing that", Richardson said.

Other reports by My Hot News

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