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Duterte apologizes to Suu Kyi for “genocide” remark

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Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi is seen attending a meeting in China in this file photo. (AFP)

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte on Friday apologized to Burmese State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi for describing the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar as a real “genocide.”

“I will apologize to you but if you have noticed, my statement was almost a satire,” the President said during a press briefing at the Davao International Airport upon his arrival from his participation to the Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan, China, and working visit to Hong Kong.

Mr. Duterte explained that “it was the Europeans” who said that the Rohingya Muslims continue to face rampant human rights violations in Burma.

“They keep attacking Burma, so I said there are a lot of human rights violations in [there]. So, what are you doing? Do you have any plans of providing a safe sanctuary even for a moment for those who are really the victims of war?”

He stressed that his intention was only to express his “sarcasm” towards the European Union (EU) that has been critical of his administration’s war on drugs.

“They keep on criticizing us, Aung [San Suu] Kyi…I was just adopting their findings that there are a lot of violations in your country. I am not ready to intervene in [the affairs of your country],”he added.

In his speech on April 5, the President said he was “willing to take in” Rohingya refugees.

“Don’t believe these human rights groups. They can’t even solve the Rohingya crisis. That’s genocide, if I may say so. I’m friends with the woman [referring to Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi]),” he also said. — Arjay L. Balinbin