LONDON: Prince Charles and his wife Camilla will visit Singapore, Malaysia and India this autumn, but not Myanmar, where violence has forced nearly 600,000 Muslim Rohingya to flee in the past year, royal officials announced on Wednesday.
Charles, heir to the British throne, and Camilla will depart for Asia on October 30 for an 11-day tour, on an itinerary intended to cement relations ahead of the Commonwealth Summit in Britain in April 2018.
British media reports last month said the Foreign Office was considering including Myanmar on the tour, despite an ongoing military crackdown against the Muslim Rohingya minority in the country that the UN says amounts to ethnic cleansing.
But unveiling details of the travel plans on Wednesday, Clarence House—the prince and duchess’ official residence—made no reference to Myanmar, which is also known as Burma.
A spokeswoman referred enquiries on the matter to the Foreign Office.
“(The) government makes decisions on royal visits based on recommendations from the Royal Visits Committee, taking into account advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office,” a Foreign Office spokeswoman said.
Mark Farmaner, director of non-governmental advocacy group Burma Campaign UK, welcomed the omission.
“It was a ridiculous suggestion from the Foreign Office… and we welcome the decision to drop Burma from the proposed schedule,” he told the Agence France-Presse.
During the upcoming tour Charles and Camilla will meet the prime ministers of Singapore and India, as well as senior dignitaries in Malaysia, which hosts a Commonwealth Summit in 2020.
“Their royal highnesses’ visit, which is at the request of the British government, will celebrate the UK’s partnership with these Commonwealth nations on shared priorities in advance of the Commonwealth Summit in April 2018,” according to the statement released by Clarence House.
“The visits will highlight key themes including celebrating community, cultural diversity and promoting business innovation,” it added. AFP