The secretary general of the United States, Ban Ki-moon, Wednesday asked Myanmar to address the grievances of the minority communities in the Buddhist country including the citizenship demands of the Rohingya Muslims.

"It is important for the Myanmar authorities to take necessary steps to address the legitimate grievances of minority communities, including the citizenship demands of the Muslim/Rohingya," said Ban Ki-moon.

"If it is not addressed urgently and firmly, underlying tensions could provoke more upheaval, undermining the reform process and triggering negative regional repercussions," said the U.N. chief.

Sectarian clashes in recent months between the Muslim-minority, which makes up only five percent of the country's 60 million people, and the Buddhist-majority have resulted in the death of hundreds of people mostly Muslims and forced more than 150,000 from their homes.

Human rights groups across the world have been condemning the escalating violence in Myanmar in recent months, which have led to brutal attacks from both sides and loss of life.

Buddhists fear that the Muslim population in the country is growing fast and will threaten the Buddhist culture.

Myanmar government in 1982 passed a citizenship law that included eight races and 130 minority groups in the country but omitted the nation's 800,000 Rohingyas.

Many Muslims came to the country as civil servants, soldiers and business people from other Asian countries including India during the British rule.