Aung San Suu Kyi finds common ground with Orbán over Islam
On a rare trip to Europe, Myanmar leader and Hungary PM discuss issue of ‘growing Muslim populations’
From her failure to speak out against ethnic cleansing to imprisoning journalists, the reputation of Aung San Suu Kyi in the west has taken a battering in recent months.
But the leader of Myanmar has found a new ally in far-right, staunchly anti-immigrant Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán.
In a rare trip to Europe, state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel peace prize laureate who was once the figurehead of the fight for democracy in Myanmar, met Orbán in Budapest. There, the two leaders found common ground on the subject of immigration and Islam .
“The two leaders highlighted that one of the greatest challenges at present for both countries and their respective regions – south-east Asia and Europe – is migration,” read a statement released after their meeting.
“They noted that both regions have seen the emergence of the issue of co-existence with continuously growing Muslim populations.”
Once lauded as the great democratic hope for Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, who was elected as civilian leader in 2015 after living under house arrest by the military for 15 years, has proved a marked disappointment to most western governments who were her champions.
Her failure to condemn the military’s violent crackdown on the Muslim Rohingya minority in 2017 – which saw thousands of Rohingya raped and killed in what the UN described as an exercise in ethnic cleansing – and her defence of the military’s brutal actions against Myanmar’s Muslims have proved particularly contentious.