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U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will stress the need to halt violence and stabilize Rakhine State when he meets the head of Myanmar’s military on Wednesday in a bid to ease the Rohingya refugee crisis, a senior State Department official told journalists in Manila, Reuters reported.

Asked what approach Tillerson would take with Myanmar’s army chief, the State Department official told journalists in a briefing by teleconference that the emphasis would be on restoring peace in Rakhine. 

“We are focussing on trying to stabilise areas in northern Rakhine so that people can return there, stopping the violence, making sure that the military would protect all populations in that area equally and that they conduct a credible investigation that leads to accountability for people who have perpetrated abuses,” said the official, who was with Tillerson in Manila and declined to be identified. 

More than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh since the military launched a counter-insurgency clearance operation in Rakhine late August. A top UN official has described it as “ethnic cleansing” by Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

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