NAYPYIDAW – The de facto leader of Myanmar said during her speech on Tuesday as part of an official welcome for the pope said that the support of good friends was invaluable.
Pope Francis was on a visit to Myanmar, which began on Monday.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s statement came after she alluded to the situation in Rakhine State, where a military operation against the Rohingya Muslim minority has killed hundreds of people and caused more than 600,000 people of this community to flee to neighboring Bangladesh.
The Nobel peace laureate said that Pope Francis’ understanding of their need for peace, national reconciliation and social harmony gave them strength and hope, especially taking into account the numerous problems in the country which required strength, patience and courage to tackle.
The official welcome ceremony was the main event in the pontiff’s schedule for the day.
He met with Myanmar’s army chief Min Aung Hlaing on Monday, the first of his four-day visit to the country.
According to sources in the Vatican, the Pope reminded Hlaing – the architect of the military operation against the Rohingyas – about the sense of responsibility that should guide the authorities during the current period of political transition in Myanmar.
Pope Francis is scheduled to leave for Bangladesh on Thursday on his second and last stop in his trip, which is focused on a possible mediation between the two countries to resolve the humanitarian crisis involving the Rohingyas.