EU proposes shunning Myanmar generals over Rohingya crisis
DHAKA: The EU has proposed cutting back contacts with Myanmar’s top generals as a first step to increasing sanctions over atrocities committed by the army against Rohingya Muslims. According to the draft, the EU “will suspend invitations to the commander in chief of the Myanmar armed forces and other senior military officers.” Rashed Ahmed Chowdhury, former Bangladeshi special envoy to the UN, welcomed the proposal, calling Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi a “puppet” of the country’s military. “Currently, Myanmar is getting arms from many Western countries, including Israel. Once the supply line is cut, it will create immense pressure on Myanmar. Only then will Bangladesh be able to repatriate refugees,” Chowdhury told Arab News, suggesting more comprehensive measures. “The world should consider economic sanctions on Myanmar. The UN Security Council should pass a unanimous resolution to stop this ethnic cleansing, which is completely unacceptable. If the situation persists, many countries will throw the minority population out of their land.” Bangladeshi diplomat Q. A. M. A. Rahim told Arab News: “From the onset, the EU has taken a rational approach against these atrocities. This time as well, it didn’t wait for any call from anyone. The EU has made its stand very clear, and is taking decisions independently.” The former foreign secretary of Bangladesh and former secretary-general of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) said he believes the EU will take further measures if Myanmar continues its atrocities against the Rohingya. Bangladesh should intensify efforts to convince countries that support Myanmar “that this ethnic cleansing must be stopped,” he added. “Without consistent and comprehensive pressure from the international community, there won’t be a sustainable solution to the refugee crisis.” Former Ambassador Sohrab Hossain told Arab News that the EU’s initiative is “very good,” and that “Myanmar is under immense diplomatic pressure.” Such pressure should be maintained to “compel” Myanmar to take back Rohingya who have fled, he said, lauding Bangladeshi diplomacy in this regard.