Conflicts & War

Myanmar military junta won’t allow Asean envoy to meet Suu Kyi

Bangkok, Oct 6 (EFE).- Myanmar military rulers have decided not to allow the special envoy of a regional bloc to meet the jailed civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, during his expected visit to the country.

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.

The military has arrested Suu Kyi and other pro-democracy politicians after seizing power in a coup on Feb.1.

The military alleges that the former de facto head of the government abused power, accepted a bribe, imported walkie-talkies, used illegal communications equipment, violated the natural disaster law, and caused “fear and alarm.”

Suu Kyi has pleaded not guilty.

If convicted, she cannot contest elections that the military intends to organize by August 2022.

The United Nations, the European Union, and countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, among others, have called for her unconditional release.

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.

The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, as part of a five-point consensus between the bloc and the head of the military, appointed Brunei deputy foreign minister Erywan Yusof as the special envoy for Myanmar.

Yusof will visit the crisis-ridden country to initiate talks with the military rulers.

“We requested the special envoy to carry out his work in line with the five recommendations and not to make new requests, respect our sovereignty and equality, and not to interfere in our internal affairs,” Zaw said.

“We will allow the envoy to meet with those concerned in the legal field.”

Several ASEAN foreign ministers, including Indonesian Retno Marsudi and Malaysian Saifuddin Abdullah, expressed disappointment in a bloc meeting about the little progress in the military-ruled country.

They left the possibility of excluding Min Aung Hlaing, the military ruler, from the summit of Asean leaders on Oct.26-28.

The Myanmar spokesman dismissed the possibility, noting that Asean works on consensus.

He said the statements of the foreign minister were “personal opinions.”

The Myanmar junta justifies the coup, citing alleged electoral fraud in the November 2020 elections in which Suu Kyi’s party won a landslide victory.

International observers have cleared the polls as free and fair.

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