YANGON - The United States on Tuesday praised Myanmar's response to recent deadly sectarian fighting, despite criticism by rights group Amnesty International that Muslim Rohingyas are still fleeing arbitrary arrest.

The vote of confidence from Washington will be a welcome relief to reformist President Thein Sein after mob violence in western Myanmar last week threatened to derail the country's move towards democracy.

After days of attacks between Rohingyas and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists, the president on June 10 declared a state of emergency in Rakhine state, sent security reinforcements, imposed a curfew and made a televised address.

"This is something we would not have seen in the past. The government is trying to help everybody who needs it whether that is Rakhine Buddhists or Muslims," Michael Thurston, the US embassy's charge d'affaires in Myanmar, told Reuters in his office in Yangon.

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