ASEAN envoy can’t visit yet: Myanmar junta | Ralph Lauren

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Myanmar’s ruling military, which is facing protests against the coup that removed the elected government three months ago, says it will not agree to a visit by a Southeast Asian envoy until it can establish stability.

Leaders of countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) reached consensus on five points at a summit on the Myanmar crisis last month, which was attended by the architect of the February 1 coup, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.

These included an end to violence, dialogue between the military and its opponents, allowing humanitarian help and permitting a visit by a special ASEAN envoy.

“Right now, we are prioritising the security and stability of the country,” Major Kaung Htet San, a spokesman for the military council, told a televised briefing.

“Only after we achieve a certain level of security and stability, we will co-operate regarding that envoy.”

The junta would consider suggestions made at the summit if they were helpful to its visions for the country, he added.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the coup, which unleashed anger amongst a public unwilling to tolerate a return to military rule after five decades of economic mismanagement and underdevelopment.

Protests and marches have taken place on most days, the latest a big pro-democracy demonstration on Friday in the commercial capital Yangon, and smaller protests in at least 10 other places around the country.

At least 769 people have been killed and nearly 3700 detained in the military’s crackdown on opponents, according to an advocacy group monitoring the crisis.

The junta says it is battling terrorists.

On Friday, spokesman Kaung Htet San said more arrests of instigators of violence had been made than were publicly announced.

The prospect of stability anytime soon in Myanmar appears bleak, with a reigniting of conflict between the military and ethnic minority insurgents in the borderlands and minor bombings and explosions now taking place regularly in its main cities.

The junta says it is fighting rogue elements of ethnic armies and all parties remain committed to a countrywide ceasefire.

It has blamed the spate of urban bombings on supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi ‘s ousted government.


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