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China, Russia Block UN Statement On Myanmar Violence, Diplomats Say

People collect water at a refugee camp for Muslims displaced by violence earlier this year in Myanmar.

China and Russia have blocked a UN Security Council statement expressing concern over the situation in Myanmar's Rakhine state, where Rohingya Muslims have reportedly been subject to attacks, diplomats say.

"We did put forward...some proposed press elements, but there was not consensus in the room," Matthew Rycroft, the British UN ambassador and president of the council for March, said on March 17.

A short statement would have "noted with concern renewed fighting in some parts of the country” and would have stressed the importance of humanitarian access, according to Reuters, which said it had seen a copy of the draft.

Diplomats said Myanmar neighbor China, with Russia's support, blocked the statement from being issued. China and Russia both have veto power in the council.

Diplomats said both countries raised objections, but their UN missions did not reply to requests for comment.

The UN human rights office last month accused the Myanmar military of mass killings and rapes of Rohingya Muslims and the burning of villages.

It said its actions "very likely" amounts to crimes against humanity.

About 1.1 million Rohingya live among the country’s Buddhist majority.

Many among the Buddhist population claim the Rohingya are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, even though many have lived in the country for decades.

The government of former dissident Aung San Suu Kyi has been criticized by international partners for not doing enough to help the Rohingya.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters