A senior U.S. official says resettlement in a third country is not the answer to the swelling tide of boat people in Southeast Asia and called for Myanmar citizenship to be given to Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution there.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Anne Richard says resettling all Rohingya refugees in the United States will entice others to leave their homeland.

She said at the end of a three-day visit to Malaysia that the solution to the crisis is "peace and stability and citizenship for the Rohingyas in Rakhine state."

Since early May, more than 4,600 boat people from Myanmar and Bangladesh have been brought ashore from Southeast Asian waters. Several thousand more are believed to still be at sea after human smugglers abandoned their boats amid a regional crackdown.