Obama vis­its Ro­hingya refugees in Malaysia on side­line of ASEAN sum­mit

Mizzima Business Weekly - - CONTENTS -

US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama took time out from the ASEAN sum­mit to visit Ro­hingya refugees chil­dren from Myan­mar liv­ing in Malaysia, say­ing the kids were “the face of not only refugees from Myan­mar - that’s the face of Syr­ian chil­dren and Iraqi chil­dren”.

Obama voiced his de­ter­mi­na­tion to put Asia front and cen­tre in his for­eign pol­icy Novem­ber 21, even as a two-na­tion visit to the re­gion was eclipsed by Is­lamic ter­ror­ist at­tacks in France and Mali.

Amer­ica’s self-styled “Pa­cific pres­i­dent” has been frus­trated to see a trip to Malaysia and the Phil- ip­pines - de­signed to high­light his stated re-fo­cus on Asia - over­shad­owed once again.

Af­ter years of talk­ing about the need to deepen trade, se­cu­rity and diplo­matic ties with the re­gion, White House of­fi­cials had hoped the trip would be a vic­tory lap.

Obama made a long-planned visit to a refugee cen­tre that took on a do­mes­tic po­lit­i­cal hue, thanks to a bit­ter de­bate over Syr­ian and Iraq mi­grants in the United States.

Dur­ing his stop at the Dig­nity for Chil­dren Foun­da­tion, Obama knelt down to chat to chil­dren aged be­tween seven and nine years about their art work and hopes for the fu­ture.

Many at the small, well-ap­pointed cen­tre, com­plete with a pet bunny, were mem­bers of Myan­mar’s per­se­cuted Ro­hingya Mus­lim mi­nor­ity, which was at the cen­tre of a dra­matic boat­peo­ple cri­sis ear­lier this year.

He later said the kids were “the face of not only refugees from Myan­mar -- that’s the face of Syr­ian chil­dren and Iraqi chil­dren”.

“When I sat there and talked to them, they were draw­ing and do­ing their math prob­lems; they were in­dis­tin­guish­able from any child in Amer­ica,” he said.

(AFP)

US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama sits with a Ro­hingya refugee girl at a refugee camp in Malaysia.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.