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On Rohingya, Myanmar Rejects Talks with UN & ASEAN, UN Silent for 5 Days

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 30 -- In the last five days in Myanmar there has been a surge of violence against the Muslim Rohingya in Rakhine State.

  The issue arose Tuesday morning in the UK House of Commons, where question after question concerned whether Foreign Secretary William Hague and his team are doing enough. Among the responses was that the "Burmese government" is doing its best to combat the violence, a claim many find dubious.

But at least the UK has tried meet with Myanmar diplomats. A statement issued later Tuesday quotes "Minister for Burma, the Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP" that

"Yesterday I called in the Burmese Chargé d’Affaires to the Foreign Office to discuss our serious concerns about the violence in Rakhine State and the casualties and displacement among Rohingya people. This follows My Right Honourable Friend the Foreign Secretary’s meeting with Burma’s Foreign Minister in New York in September, and my own meetings during the UN General Assembly."

  But what of the UN Secretariat itself? Inner City Press asked Ban's Spokesperson's office for "anything on the recently worsening plight of the Rohingya in Myanmar and any UN response."

  The response? "On Thursday we issued a statement on Myanmar. That continues to stand."

That statement was now five days ago. Nothing since? Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has been in his native South Korea for the past four days; his office has issued speech after speech, to the parliament and other grounds there, but nothing on this.

  Ban has a special envoy devote full time to Myanmar, Vijay Nambiar. But nothing has issued from him. In the interim, ASEAN has called for tripartite talks among it, the Myanmar semi-civilian government and the UN.

  The UN said nothing; Myanmar's government has rejected the talks. Is this due to Hurricane Sandy in New York? If at all, only in part. Watch this site.

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