Millennium Post

Pope Francis calls for reconciliation in Myanmar

YANGON: Pope Francis on Wednesday urged Myanmar's top Buddhist monks to reconcile people of different ethnicities and religions as their country emerges from nearly five decades of military rule still riven by ethnic conflicts and communal strife.

That echoed a call for peace he made at a Mass earlier on the third day of a visit fraught with diplomatic risk over a military crackdown that has triggered the flight of about 625,000 Muslim Rohingya from the predominantly Buddhist country.
In a speech on Tuesday, he avoided the highly charged term 'Rohingya', following advice of Vatican insiders who feared it could set off a diplomatic incident and turn Myanmar's military and government against minority Christians.
However, his call for justice, human rights and respect for all were widely seen as applicable to the Rohingya, who are not recognised as citizens or as members of a distinct ethnic group. Visiting the Supreme Sangha Council of Buddhist monks in Yangon, the pope and his entourage of cardinals and bishops were ushered to an ornate chandeliered and carpeted room of gold and wood carvings with a white statue of Buddha at one end.

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