Asean envoy’s meeting in Myanmar with 8 political parties canceled
Bangkok, Oct 12 (EFE).- Planned talks between the special envoy of the regional Southeast Asian bloc and representatives from eight political parties in Naypyidaw were called off at the eleventh hour on Tuesday, a news portal reported.
Brunei deputy foreign minister Erywan Yusof, the special envoy, is to visit the crisis-ridden country to initiate talks with the military rulers more than eight months after the army toppled an elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in a coup.
Yusof, appointed in August after months of delay, was scheduled to meet representatives of eight political parties at the headquarters of the election commission in Naypyidaw, the Eleven Media news portal, citing some of the invited political parties.
However, the portal later said the meeting was canceled at the eleventh hour, without giving the reason for nixing the talks.
“The Union Election Commission just informed us that the plan to meet with the Special Envoy has been canceled,” Nandar Hla Myint, a spokesperson for the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) told Eleven Media.
Among the groups to meet with Yusof was the Myanmar Army-backed Union, Solidarity, and Development Party (USDP).
However, it is unknown if Yusof’s visit to the country that was to begin Tuesday was on.
It is also unknown if the envoy can meet with Suu Kyi, who has been under arrest since coup day and faces several cases.
The military rulers had earlier decided not to allow the envoy to meet the jailed civilian leader.
Zaw Min Tun, the spokesman for the military regime, defended the decision “in accord with standard procedures,” saying cases against Suu Kyi were subjudice as she was under trial for various charges.
“I have never heard of any governments allowing foreign delegates to meet with a person under trial or a person or representatives of illegal organizations, except in very special circumstances,” Zaw told Radio Free Asia in an interview last week.
It is also unknown if the junta will allow Yusof to meet a representative of the historic National League for Democracy (NLD) headed by Suu Kyi.
The Myanmar junta justifies the coup, citing alleged electoral fraud in the now annulled election results in which Suu Kyi’s party won a landslide victory.
International observers have cleared the polls as free and fair.
The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, as part of a five-point consensus between the bloc and the head of the military, Yusof as the special envoy for Myanmar in August.
The appointment of the envoy and his visit to “meet with all parties” are among the consensus points reached in April between the Asean leaders and the head of the military junta, General Min Aung Hlaing.
Other agreements, termed as “recommendations” by the junta, are ending violence against civilians, sending humanitarian aid, and holding talks with all parties for a peaceful solution.
The coup sparked a wave of an uprising, with the military struggling to bring order across the country.
Several armed rebel groups linked to the different ethnic minorities have also piled up pressure against the Tatmadaw – as the Myanmar armed forces are known.
At least 1,164 people have died in violent repression by police and soldiers since the coup, data from the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners showed.