Richardson says Suu Kyi living in a 'bubble'

President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said he advised Nobel Peace Prize victor, Aung San Suu Kyi, to ignore criticisms from human rights organizations as he continued to lambast critics of his drug war.

Suu Kyi, known as a democracy and human rights icon, has disappointed many for her silence over the persecution of Rohingyas in her country.

"The relationship with the West, with human rights groups, with the United Nations, with the global media is bad", he told Reuters by phone from New Mexico on Friday.

He added that their criticism of his government over his drug war and that of Myanmar over its response to the Rohingya crisis which had led to the mass migration of hundreds of thousands of refugees into neighboring Bangladesh was just part of the West's continuing imperialism. Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson resigned suddenly from an advisory panel on the crisis this week, calling it a "whitewash and a cheerleading operation" for Suu Kyi.

Since late August 2017, almost 690,000 Rohingya had fled to Bangladesh after a brutal military crackdown in Myanmar's Rakhine State. "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".

The statement said that during the initial two-day meeting of the 10-member body that started on Monday, "it became evident that the intent of Governor Bill Richardson...was not to provide advice based on the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State chaired by Dr Kofi Annan but to pursue his own agenda".

Richardson said it was important for Western governments, the United Nations and Suu Kyi to enter into a new dialogue "to try to help each other, not to keep fighting each other" before any thoughts of new sanctions on Myanmar.

Richardson joined the Myanmar board as a private citizen, but the US State Department said the Washington administration shares many of his concerns.

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The Myanmar-language version said they made a decision to "terminate" his participation.

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.

Richardson said that before his trip to Myanmar, he spoke to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who visited the country in November.

Suu Kyi's government said on Friday it did not want discuss the details of the exchange between Suu Kyi and Richardson any further.

Reporters Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 27, had worked on Reuters coverage of the crisis in Rakhine. Myanmar rejects that label and has denied almost all the allegations.

Rohingya Muslims have always been treated as outsiders in largely Buddhist Myanmar, derided as "Bengalis", illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, even though many Rohingya families have lived in Myanmar for generations.

Richardson was one of the five worldwide experts in the 10-member Advisory Board on Rakhine State that was to help the government implement projects that will provide lasting solutions to the crisis.

"The situation isn't safe for the returns to begin", he said.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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