LAST_UPDATEMon, 16 Jul 2018 1pm

Asean Summit To Discuss Rohingya Refugee Crisis

MANILA: The Rohingya refugee crisis in Myanmar is expected to be raised at the 31st Asean Summit and Related Summits, which kicks off here Sunday, with the possibility of it being discussed behind closed door.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said even Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, who will be leading the Malaysian delegation to the three-day Summits, was very concerned about what was happening in Rakhine State.

"And in all probability, it will be one of the agendas, but it also depends on the circumstances. Maybe there is a closed door meeting, that could be more effective," he told the Malaysian media covering the Summits.

Anifah also said he believed that not only Malaysia but other countries like Asean's dialogue partners would raise the issue which had seen more than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims displaced from their homes, having fled to neighbouring Bangladesh since Aug 25, when the crackdown on the Rohingya intensified in Rakhine state.

Leaders from the 10 Asean member countries and its dialogue partners, namely Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia, United States, Canada, the European Union and the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will gather here for the important summits hosted by the Philippines.

Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi is leading the country's delegation to the Summits.

Anifah also said the leaders would discuss regional and international issues of common concern such as the South China Sea, Korean Peninsula, counter terrorism and violent extremism and cyber digital economy.

The Manila gathering will see a total of 11 Summits and expected to adopt 56 outcome documents, said Anifah, adding that it includes the non-legally binding Asean Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.

"The instrument was drafted as a follow-up to the Asean Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers or Cebu Declaration 2007 inked by Asean leaders in 2007," he said.

He said Asean Economic Ministers are also expected to sign the Asean-Hong Kong, China Free Trade Agreement (AHKFTA) and the Agreement on Investment among Asean member states and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China (AHKIA).

Other outcome includes East Asia Summit Leaders' statement on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism, cooperation in poverty alleviation and chemical weapons.

On the sidelines of the Summit, Najib is scheduled to hold bilateral meetings with his counterparts - Shinzo Abe of Japan, Lee Hsien Loong from Singapore and China's Le Keqiang.

- Bernama