| 26 May 2024, Sunday |

Myanmar defies international pressure, rejects Suu Kyi visit

Myanmar’s governing military maintained firm on Wednesday in its refusal to allow a Southeast Asian envoy access to jailed former leader Aung San Suu Kyi, despite mounting international pressure to comply with an April regional peace plan.

Allowing a foreigner access to someone charged with crimes, according to Vice-Senior General Soe Win, the second in command of the junta that took power from Suu Kyi’s elected government in February, is against domestic law.

“I believe no country will allow anyone to do beyond the existing law like this,” he said in a speech published in state media.

His comments come after the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) staged virtual Asian leader summits last week, which Myanmar boycotted in protest of junta leader Min Aung Hlaing’s expulsion for violating the peace agreement.

It refused to send junior representatives, citing a breach of ASEAN’s code of consensus and non-interference.

Soe Win dismissed the charge of non-compliance, claiming that the April agreement with ASEAN was contingent on Myanmar’s “current internal circumstances” being taken into account, and that the envoy’s access to the nation was “based on internal stability.”

Soe Win’s argument was made at an ASEAN auditors’ virtual meeting on Tuesday.

Last week’s Asian summit demands on Myanmar, he claimed, were “considered to be suspicious of breaking the images of ASEAN’s solidarity.”

Since the coup, Myanmar has been paralyzed by protests, strikes, and violence, with the military battling armed resistance from militias and ethnic minority rebels associated with a shadow government it labels “terrorists.”

According to a local monitoring group cited by the UN, which the junta has accused of prejudice, more than 1,200 civilians have been slain by security personnel.

  • Reuters