The government’s search for a ‘win-win’ solution to the conflict between the two groups follows a new outbreak of violence last week in which attacks by Buddhist mobs left 89 dead and forced more than 28,000 to flee their homes.
In an interview with The Hindu newspaper, Myanmar’s information minister, U Ang Kyi, said his government is working towards a “win-win solution for all stakeholders” and acknowledged that the statelessness of its Rohingya Muslim minority is a key cause of its suffering in the country.
“Rohingyas are denied citizenship by Myanmar [Burma] and as a consequence the rights that go with it,” he added.
Diplomatic sources in Burma said the government is now focused on granting citizenship rights on third generation Rohingya, but has yet to decide what to do with several hundred thousand first and second generation Rohingya who are regarded as Bengali immigrants by local Rakhine Buddhists.
Earlier, Myanmar’s democracy icon Suu Kyi told the BBC she could not speak out on the status of the Rohingya, who are denied citizenship.
She has been subjected to some uncharacteristically stinging criticism over her unwillingness to speak up for the Rohingyas, described by the UN as among the most persecuted minorities on Earth, the BBC’s Jonathan Head reports.
But speaking to the BBC from her modest home in the new Burmese capital, she was unrepentant.
People on both sides in Rakhine state had suffered from the communal violence, she said – it was not her place to champion one side or the other.
“I am urging tolerance but I do not think one should use one’s moral leadership, if you want to call it that, to promote a particular cause without really looking at the sources of the problems,” she said.
Suu Kyi added that she had seen no statistics to show that 800,000 Rohingyas were being denied citizenship.
The much criticised 1982 law that excludes them should be looked at, she said.