Yangon: Myanmar's President has postponed a trip to neighboring Bangladesh as tensions between the two countries continue over refugees fleeing ethnic strife.
A senior Foreign Affairs Ministry official said on Tuesday that Thein Sein was delaying his trip because of pressing domestic matters. Kyaw Soe Lwin noted that the upcoming session of parliament will deal with important legislation, including a foreign investment law.
The visit had been scheduled for July 15. Sectarian violence last month in western Myanmar left at least 80 people dead and tens of thousands homeless, triggering a small exodus of Muslim Rohingyas seeking refuge in Bangladesh. Bangladesh denied them entry.
It was the second trip to a neighboring country that Thein Sein has canceled in a month. He put off a trip to Thailand after opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi made a high-profile visit there before him, giving the same reason of urgent business at home.
Thein Sein had to declare a state of emergency to contain the violence that took place in Rakhine state from May 28 to June 24. There has been longstanding enmity there between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Muslim Rohingyas, who are seen by many in Myanmar as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
The state-run newspaper Myanmar Ahlin reported today that 52 people had been arrested in connection with two incidents during the recent violence, the lynching of 10 Muslims dragged out of a bus by a mob of about 300 people, and the siege of a police station after a market dispute, both on June 3.


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