Updated: Fri, 04 Jan 2013 09:32:24 GMT | By Agence France-Presse

Indonesia pledges $1m in aid to Myanmar's Rakhine state

Indonesia's foreign minister said Friday Jakarta would pledge $1 million in aid to western Myanmar's Rakhine state, where tens of thousands have been displaced by sectarian violence.


Clashes between Buddhists and Muslims have left at least 180 people dead in Rakhine since June, and displaced more than 110,000 others, mostly Muslim Rohingya.

Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said he would visit Myanmar on a 24-hour trip starting Monday "to deal with the issue of Rohingya on the invitation of the Myanmar government".

"The Indonesian government, when I visit Myanmar, will inform of our pledge to commit $1 million of humanitarian assistance to alleviate humanitarian suffering in Rakhine state," Natalegawa told reporters.

"Obviously there is a humanitarian problem, a challenge. The people in that state, I'm informed, are in a difficult state in terms of their basic needs."

Natalegawa said he would bring up the controversial issue of Myanmar granting citizenship for the some 800,000 Rohingya in the country, whom the government and many Burmese consider to be illegal immigrants.

The UN says the Rohingya are among the most persecuted ethnic groups in the world and has called on Myanmar's neighbours to accept them as refugees.

Unrest in Rakhine and northern Kachin state have cast a shadow over Myanmar's widely praised emergence from decades of army rule.

The country has come under fresh scrutiny in recent days for carrying out army air strikes against rebels in Kachin as fighting intensified this week.

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