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Show leadership and end Rohingya suffering, Boris Johnson tells Burma’s Suu Kyi

The Foreign Secretary criticised Burma’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi for defending the treatment of the Rohingyas.

Aung San Suu Kyi must “show the leadership she is capable of” in an effort to end the suffering of the Muslim Rohingya people in Burma, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said.

Mr Johnson – who has condemned the “racial prejudice” behind the violence and criticised Nobel Peace Prize winner Ms Suu Kyi, the country’s de facto civilian leader – said the world was “united in anguish” about the situation.

The Foreign Secretary said there had been condemnation of the Burmese military from the international community gathered at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Mr Johnson joined representatives of the US, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Turkey, Australia, Canada, Sweden and Denmark to raise the issue with Burma’s national security adviser on the margins of the gathering.

In a video message recorded at the UN, Mr Johnson said: “The world is united in anguish at what is happening to the Rohingya and, obviously, strong denunciations of the Burmese military for their role.”

There was an “absolute determination to stop the killing and calling on Aung San Suu Kyi to show the leadership she is capable of to try to heal that terrible situation”.

Mr Johnson had earlier told the Guardian that Ms Suu Kyi was “clearly not doing enough to express people’s legitimate outrage at the treatment of the Rohingya”.

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Meanwhile US secretary of state Rex Tillerson raised the treatment of the Rohingya in a telephone call with Ms Suu Kyi – thought to be the first time they have spoken directly.

The State Department said that while he had welcomed the Burmese government’s commitment to end the violence and allow the refugees to return home he had also pressed for it to address the allegations of human rights abuses.

The UK has announced it will withdraw its engagement with Burma’s military until the violence is stopped.

Answers to written parliamentary questions showed that the UK does not provide combat training, but instead seeks to educate soldiers in democracy, leadership and the English language.

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