BANGKOK: US Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration, Anne C. Richard is arriving in Kuala Lumpur today with the Rohingya issue top on the agenda of discussions with Malaysian government officials.

She is travelling to Malaysia from May 30 to June 1, and to Jakarta and Aceh, Indonesia, from June 1-3, where she is to meet with government officials, representatives of international organisations, and rescued migrants and asylum seekers.

Richard was in Thailand on May 29, leading the U.S. delegation to the regional migration meeting hosted by the Government of Thailand in Bangkok.

In a statement, the US State Department said the United States supports Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Myanmar in their efforts to address the plight of stranded and abused migrants and asylum seekers in the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.

It said with the support of the Malaysian government, the U.S. Navy is conducting daily maritime surveillance flights out of Subang, Malaysia, to locate boats carrying migrants.

“We are sharing information from these flights with regional partners to indicate the sea routes used by smugglers and to help locate boats still at sea.

“We will continue conducting flights as necessary to help provide support to regional governments as they work to rescue those stranded at sea and provide humanitarian assistance to vulnerable migrants in the region.”

The United States will also contribute to the emergency appeal by the International Organisation for Migration to support the regional response.

This assistance will come in addition to the US$109 million in humanitarian assistance provided over the last two years from the United States to support vulnerable Burmese, including Rohingya, in Burma and in the region, it said.

It said the United States will continue to consider resettlement for the most vulnerable refugees as part of any international resettlement response led by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Resettlement cannot be the primary solution to this current crisis but can serve as one part of a wider regional effort that addresses the root causes of migration and creates lasting solutions for those who flee their country out of fear, it said.

The United States has resettled more than 150,000 refugees from the region in the past decade, including more than 1,000 Rohingya this year it added. – BERNAMA

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