YANGON – Pope Francis will meet with the chief of Myanmar army in Yangon on Monday evening instead of Nov. 30, the Vatican press office said.
The Pope, who arrived in Yangon Monday morning for an official state visit, will meet General Min Aung Hlaing at 6:00 pm on Monday.
The meeting with Hlaing, who is blamed for a military offensive in Myanmar’s Rakhine region that has led to hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas (a Muslim ethnic minority community) to flee the country, was suggested by the Archbishop of Yangon, Charles Maung Bo, who was appointed Cardinal in 2015 by Pope Francis.
The military offensive, described by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights as ethnic cleansing, began at the end of August and until now has led to the exodus of more than 620,000 Rohingyas to neighboring Bangladesh.
The Pope will travel to Naypyidaw on Tuesday to meet with President Htin Kyaw and de facto head of the government, Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been criticized globally for her silence over the brutal repression of the Rohingyas.