Saturday, 27 November, 2021

Int’l pressure mounts on Myanmar junta

YANGON: Eight countries and the EU diplomatic chief on Friday urged the Myanmar junta to let a regional special envoy meet ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, according to reports published by AFP and Reuters.

The call comes as concerns grow over the military government’s seeming lack of commitment to a “five-point consensus” agreed with Asean to defuse the bloody crisis that erupted after Myanmar’s Feb 1 coup.

Asean foreign ministers were scheduled to meet virtually on Friday evening to debate whether to exclude Myanmar junta chief Min Aung Hlaing from an upcoming summit over his government’s intransigence.

The military authorities have said they will not allow Asean special envoy Erywan Yusof, a Bruneian diplomat, to meet anyone currently on trial, which includes Aung San Suu Kyi. In a joint statement, the US, Britain, Australia, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand, Norway and East Timor say they are “deeply concerned about the dire situation in Myanmar” and urged Nay Pyi Taw to “engage constructively” with the special envoy.

“We further call on the military to facilitate regular visits to Myanmar by the Asean Special Envoy, and for him to be able to engage freely with all stakeholders,” said the statement, also endorsed by European Union foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell.

Rebuffing pressure from several other Asean member states, the Myanmar foreign ministry on Thursday insisted Yusof could not “go beyond the permission of existing laws” and urged him to focus on meeting government officials instead.