Conflicts & War

Former US diplomat on humanitarian mission to Myanmar

Bangkok, Nov 2 (EFE).- Former American diplomat Bill Richardson is on a private tour to military-ruled Myanmar, where he will discuss the delivery of humanitarian aid for the crisis-ridden country.

Richardson said, in a statement, that the trip was humanitarian to coordinate with his contacts in Myanmar, which has been under military rule since Feb.1 when the army ousted an elected civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

“We are visiting the country to discuss pathways for the humanitarian delivery of Covid-19 vaccines, medical supplies, and other public health needs,” the former diplomat said in a statement.

The Irrawaddy online news portal said Richardson arrived in Myanmar Monday.

The ex-governor of New Mexico has been in contact with Myanmar since the 1990s.

He is likely to raise the issue of the detention of American journalist Danny Fenster with Myanmar military officials.

The military arrested Fenster in May for allegedly spreading false news.

Richardson met Suu Kyi in 1994 when she was under house arrest of the then military authorities.

He has since maintained a close relationship with the Nobel peace laureate.

He was on a Rohingya commission formed by Suu Kyi in 2018 when she was the de facto head of the civilian government in Myanmar.

He, however, resigned from the panel, stating that it was a “facelift” of the military for the atrocities committed against the Muslim minority community.

Richardson has condemned the military coup that toppled the civilian government and led to the arrest of Suu Kyi.

He called for the release of Suu Kyi but also said she should let other “democratic leaders” with more international support take over.

Myanmar is increasingly slipping into global isolation.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), last month, barred the coup leader, Min Aung Hlaing, from attending the annual summit.

The bloc accused him of failing to comply with the agreements reached with the group in April.

The agreement called for an end to violence against peaceful protesters and the beginning of a peace dialog.

More than nine months since the coup, the military regime has not managed to gain public support as protests and indefinite strikes against the junta continue.

Many protesters have chosen to take up arms due to the limited progress of the peaceful opposition.

Various ethnic guerrillas, fighting the army for decades, have opened combat fronts throughout the country.

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