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US presses Suu Kyi for inclusive election

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Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi waits with her dog to wave to supporters of her National League for Democracy party on September 19. AFP

US presses Suu Kyi for inclusive election

The US on Tuesday urged Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi to promote an inclusive election and renewed its concern over the marginalisation of the Rohingya minority.

In a telephone call to Suu Kyi, State Department number three David Hale voiced support for democracy in Myanmar and called for a “credible, transparent and inclusive national election” on November 8.

Hale “pressed the Burmese government to end conflict across the country and secure the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of Rohingya and other refugees and internally displaced persons”, a State Department statement said, using Myanmar’s former name Burma.

Nearly two million people have been disenfranchised in the election – notably the Rohingya, a mostly Muslim people denied citizenship and targeted in a brutal campaign that has led to Myanmar facing genocide charges before the UN’s top court.

Electoral authorities have also excluded swathes of minority-heavy areas from the vote, ostensibly due to security concerns.

The election is only the second since the end of outright rule by the military, which for years kept Suu Kyi under house arrest.

After her triumphant accession to power, Suu Kyi has lost her iconic status in the West with governments that once backed her. They are now dismayed by her equivocal statements on the campaign against the Rohingya.

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