Photo/IllutrationMyanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi is interviewed by The Asahi Shimbun on June 7 in Naypyidaw. (Akihiko Kaise)

NAYPYIDAW--Myanmar de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi said her government would seek outside advice, including from foreign legal experts, to resolve the Rohingya crisis that has ignited international condemnation of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

In an exclusive interview with The Asahi Shimbun on June 7, Suu Kyi also indicated that efforts would be made to encourage Rohingya refugees to return despite what she said are safety concerns held by many Myanmar residents.

Myanmar has come under severe international criticism for its treatment of the Muslim Rohingya minority, especially in light of Suu Kyi winning the Nobel Peace Prize mainly for her pro-democracy efforts in the nation.

About 700,000 Rohingya have fled from their homes in Myanmar since August 2017, when Myanmar security forces began to root out armed Rohingya groups after an attack against police.

The Myanmar government had until now been reluctant to allow international organizations to get involved with solving the religious issues facing the nation, but on June 6 it announced a decision to allow the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees to become involved in repatriating the Rohingya.

Regarding the return of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh, Suu Kyi said, “We will proceed as we have agreed to with Bangladesh” in resettling those refugees in Myanmar.

The Myanmar government announced in late May that it would establish an independent commission, including foreign legal experts, to investigate human rights abuses against the Rohingya minority in Rakhine, where many Roningya live.

“We think that this investigative commission will also make the kind of recommendations that will help with the long-term situation in Rakhine,” she said.

At the same time, she acknowledged the long history of distrust between the Rohingya and Buddhists in Rakhine, saying peace was “not something we can achieve overnight.”

Regarding concerns held by the Rohingya about possible violence against them, Suu Kyi said, “We need to assure the security of all our peoples, particularly in the more sensitive areas, which is why we are putting a lot of emphasis on community policing and on the proper training of security forces.”

She also addressed the harsh international criticism targeted at her government for its handling of the ethnic issue, saying: “Every problem has various aspects. So, their interpretation is their interpretation, and our interpretation is not necessarily the same.”

(This article was written by Ryuta Sometaya and Akihiko Kaise.)