Military spokesman Zaw Min Tun says the ASEAN special envoy cannot meet with the deposed civilian leader because he faces legal charges.
Myanmar’s ruling military will not block a visit from the ASEAN special envoy, but will not allow him to meet with detained former leader Aung San Suu Kyi because she is accused of crimes, according to the military spokesperson.
Zaw Min Tun added in remarks on Wednesday that the United Nations ‘delay in approving the generals’ nomination for ambassador to the UN was politically motivated and that the international community “should avoid double standards when engaging in international affairs.”
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations special envoy to Myanmar, Erywan Yusof, hopes to visit the country before the organization’s summit in late October.
The spokesman’s remarks come amid mounting pressure on Myanmar’s military to implement a five-point plan that its senior general Min Aung Hlaing agreed to in April with ASEAN leaders in Jakarta.
On Thursday, Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said ASEAN should not allow Min Aung Hlaing to attend the summit later this month, adding that the regional organization’s credibility was at stake. Malaysia expressed similar sentiments last week, saying the general should be excluded if the military continued to ignore ASEAN’s attempt to resolve the conflict.
The military’s inaction on the ASEAN plan was “tantamount to backtracking” and some member countries were “deep in discussions” about Min Aung Hlaing’s exclusion from the summit, Yusof said last week.
Erywan said earlier this week that he was in talks with parties in Myanmar, that he does not take political sides or positions, and that he hopes to visit the country.
Myanmar has been mired in political turmoil since the February 1 coup, which unleashed an unabated torrent of anger and protests, with some civilians forming armed groups to confront the powerful army.
The armed forces seized power the day Aung San Suu Kyi was due to form a new government, three months after his party returned to power in a landslide.
The generals have tried to justify the coup by claiming that the election was marred by a fraud that threatens the sovereignty of the country. However, the electoral commission found no evidence of irregularities in the survey.
Zaw Min Tun insisted in his comments that Myanmar’s judicial system was fair and independent that it would handle Aung San Suu Kyi’s case accordingly, adding that the Chief Justice had been appointed by the previous government.
The army has been brutally cracking down on dissent: shooting at protesters, arresting suspected dissidents in night raids, shutting down media outlets and detaining journalists.
Since the February coup, more than 1,000 civilians have died, according to a local watchdog group.
Despite military repression and deaths, daily protests against coup leaders continue.
The demonstrations continued Thursday with people marching in the country’s largest city, Yangon.
Several protests were also seen in Kale Township in the Sagaing region, according to social media posts. The protesters laid wreaths and candles in tribute to those who were killed by the security forces.