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Myanmar president calls for end to communal violence

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Myanmar President Thein Sein urged Monday for an end to intercommunal violence and discrimination after hearing a call from US President Barack Obama to put a stop to anti-Muslim attacks.

In a speech after his landmark White House meeting, the leader of the former pariah nation said he wanted a "more inclusive national identity" but did not directly mention the plight of the beleaguered Rohingya community.

"Myanmar people of all ethnic backgrounds and all faiths -- Buddhists, Muslims, Christians and others -- must feel part of this new national identity," he said.

"We must end all forms of discrimination and ensure not only that intercommunal violence is brought to a halt, but that all perpetrators are brought to justice," he told Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies.

Thein Sein did not directly mention the Rohingya, a predominantly Muslim people who are not even considered citizens of the predominantly Buddhist nation formerly known as Burma. However, he called recent ethnic violence "extremely tragic."

Human rights groups have alleged that officials turned a blind or worse to recent attacks on the Rohingya, with Human Rights Watch accusing Myanmar of a "campaign of ethnic cleansing" against the group.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130520/myanmar-president-calls-end-communal-violence