Myanmar's Suu Kyi says jailed Reuters journalists can appeal verdict

The United Nations has said the treatment of Rohingya in Buddhist-majority Myanmar may amount to genocide a report that Suu Kyi's government has rejected

"There are of course ways in which we, with hindsight, might think the situation could have been handled better", she said, adding that the government accepted full responsibility for the political aspects of the crisis.

But she also appeared to turn responsibility onto neighbouring Bangladesh for failing to start the repatriation of the almost one million-strong Rohingya refugee community to Myanmar.

Kono met with Myanmar's State Counsellor in Vietnam on Wednesday.

She also defended Myanmar's security forces, saying "we have to be fair to all sides". She has faced intense global criticism that contrasts with a decadeslong perception of her as a dissident hero resisting military rule.

"We can not go and fetch them from Bangladesh", Ms. Suu Kyi said.

Suu Kyi said that Myanmar is willing to take back those who fled, but many Rohingya who escaped the horrors of the army's campaign are adamant about not returning.

Myanmar does not recognise Rohingyas as citizens and considers them Bangladeshi immigrants, with the community facing increasing discrimination in the country including checks on their freedom of movement.

The two journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, say they were framed and that the allegedly secret documents they had in their possession were planted on them by a police officer.

Suu Kyi, who has bristled at foreign criticism of her country, on Thursday softened her defence of the crackdown against "terrorists" from the Muslim minority.

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Last month, the United Nations, in an independent investigation, called for probe and prosecution of Myanmar military leaders for "genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes" against Rohingya Muslims.

The reporters were both sentenced to seven years' imprisonment on charges of possessing state secrets.

Last week, Vice President Mike Pence called for the journalists to be released.

Nobel peace laureate Suu Kyi was once lionised as a human rights champion for standing up to the military junta that ruled her country for decades, but her response to the Rohingya crisis has seen her reputation tarnished in the eyes of many observers.

"That would give a message to the world that we have nothing to hide and if there are problems we will fix them together", he said.

Asked how she felt about jailing journalists as a democratic leader, Suu Kyi said: "They were not jailed because they were journalists, they were jailed because.the court has decided that they have broken the Official Secrets Act".

Win Tin, who died 2014 at the age of 84, spent almost two decades in Insein prison on the outskirts of Yangon, where the two Reuters reporters have been held since they were arrested in December, and where Suu Kyi was also briefly held.

The lawyers for the journalists have said they will do whatever they can to get their clients freed.

During eight months of hearings, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo testified that two policemen they had not met before handed them papers rolled up in a newspaper during a meeting at a Yangon restaurant on December 12.

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