May 4, 2018 / 12:11 PM / 3 months ago

Trump assures Bangladesh of U.S. support amid Rohingya crisis

DHAKA (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump has assured Bangladesh of U.S. support in dealing with the Myanmar Rohingya refugee crisis, a Bangladeshi official said on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump waves guests goodbye after participating in the National Day of Prayer ceremony at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 3, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

A letter from Trump was handed to Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at a meeting with U.S. Ambassador Marcia Bernicat in Dhaka on Thursday, said Ihsanul Karim, the Prime Minister’s press secretary, and a U.S. embassy official.

“The United States will continue to pressure Myanmar to create necessary conditions for the safe and voluntary return of the Rohingya people to their homeland,” Trump said in the letter, according to Karim.

Last month, Hasina said more international pressure was needed on Myanmar to take back Rohingya refugees.

U.N. officials say some 700,000 mostly Muslim Rohingya have fled into Bangladesh from Myanmar’s Rakhine state to escape a military crackdown since August, amid reports of murder, rape and arson by Myanmar troops and Buddhist vigilantes in actions which the United Nations has likened to “ethnic cleansing”.

Myanmar has denied nearly all allegations, saying it has been waging a legitimate counter-insurgency operation.

In the letter, Trump also said those in Myanmar responsible for instigating the crisis must be held accountable, said Karim.

He said Hasina reiterated her call for the international community to continue to pressure the Myanmar government to repatriate its people from Bangladesh.

Writing by Euan Rocha; Editing by Nick Macfie

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