Suu Kyi Says Rohingya Mass Grave Investigation 'Positive'

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Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono asked Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday to ensure the "safe and voluntary repatriation and resettlement" of members of the Rohingya ethnic group who have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar's strife-torn Rakhine state.

Prior to the joint news conference, the Japanese government announced emergency grant aid of around $3 million to Myanmar to help facilitate the return of the Rohingya.

Many refugees start at transit centres set up along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border before they are brought to the main refugee camps in Cox's Bazar. The exact numbers and extent of the repatriation is still unclear.

According to an agreement signed by Myanmar and Bangladesh in November 2017, Myanmar is scheduled to begin repatriations of refugees by January 22.

Kono visited a village in Maungdaw region in Rakhine that used to be home to around 1,000 Rohingya Muslims. Humanitarian groups and independent media still cannot visit the area freely.

More than 655,000 Rohingyas have crossed into Bangladesh since August 25 previous year, escaping a military crackdown in the Rakhine state, which many countries and human rights bodies have described as ethnic cleansing.

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The Japanese foreign minister said Tokyo, one of Myanmar's biggest foreign aid donors, planned to give about $20 million for humanitarian support to Rohingya refugees, subject to parliamentary approval, Kyodo said.

During a meeting on Friday, Kono asked Suu Kyi's government to allow humanitarian and media access to the affected area, the resettlement of returned refugees, and the implementation of recommendations made by former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan.

Suu Kyi made the comments Friday during a joint news conference with Japan's foreign minister.

"The money will be paid in a timely manner based on the progress of repatriation", Yamaguchi added.

Myanmar and Bangladesh reached a deal in November previous year on repatriating the refugees.

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