On Tuesday, the Myanmar authorities began the first of five days of talks with Bangladesh border guard officials in the capital Naypyitaw, to discuss how to resolve the refugee crisis and other issues along their common frontier. But the importance of the talks has been overshadowed by the report of the army's own investigation into events in Rakhine state, which appeared on the military's Facebook page overnight.
It is the most forceful denial yet that security forces committed atrocities during "clearance operations" in the west of the country, saying an internal investigation had absolved them of any wrongdoing in a crisis that has triggered the largest refugee exodus in Asia in decades.
In a statement issued late on Monday, the military said it had interviewed thousands of people during a month-long investigation into the conduct of troops in western Rakhine state after Rohingya insurgents launched a series of deadly attacks there on Aug. 25.
While the report acknowledged that battles against militants from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, or ARSA, had left 376 "terrorists" dead, it also claimed security forces had "never shot at the innocent Bengalis" and "there was no death of innocent people." New York-based Human Rights Watch said the military's latest claims were "contrary to a large and growing body of evidence" documenting severe rights abuses in Myanmar. Myanmar's government does not allow independent journalists to travel freely to the parts of Rakhine state where most of the latest violence has taken place.
The report comes just ahead of an expected visit on Wednesday by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is to hold talks with senior officials on the crisis.