YANGON: Myanmar has called an emergency ASEAN meeting to discuss the Rohingya crisis, a diplomat said Monday (Dec 12), as regional tensions deepen over a bloody military crackdown on the country's Muslim minority.
More than 20,000 Rohingya have flooded into Bangladesh over the past two months, fleeing a military campaign in Myanmar's western Rakhine state.
Their stories of mass rape and murder at the hands of security forces have galvanised protests in Muslim nations around the region, with Buddhist-majority Myanmar facing diplomatic pressure from its neighbours.
Last week Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak lashed out at Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi for allowing "genocide" on her watch, speaking before thousands of angry protesters in Kuala Lumpur.
Myanmar, which has vehemently denied the accusations, responded by angrily summoning Malaysia's ambassador and banning its workers from going to the country.
A diplomatic source in the Philippines confirmed Myanmar had invited them for an emergency ASEAN meeting to discuss "the Rohingya issue".
The source declined to give more details on the meeting, which the Nikkei reported would be held in Yangon on Dec 19. Myanmar officials could not be reached for comment.
The bloodshed presents the biggest challenge to Nobel Peace prize winner Suu Kyi since her party won the country's first democratic elections in a generation last year.
Last week the UN's special adviser on Myanmar criticised her handling of the crisis, saying it had "caused frustration locally and disappointment internationally".