Myanmar decries move to block coup leader from ASEAN summit
Military government presses Southeast Asian bloc for representation, as UN rapporteur warns of more violence in the northern region.
Myanmar’s military government has decried a decision by its Southeast Asian neighbors to invite only a non-political figure to an upcoming regional summit in a snub to the leader of the February 1 coup, as calls grow for more international pressure on the coup leaders.
The military government’s foreign ministry said in a press release on Friday that the heads of state or government of Myanmar enjoyed equal and full rights to participate in summits of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The next summit is to take place on October 26-28. It is not clear who, if anybody, will now represent Myanmar at the meeting.
“Myanmar will not be in a position to accept any outcome of the discussions and decisions which are…contrary to the provisions, objectives, and cherished principles of the ASEAN Charter,” the foreign ministry said in its release.
More than 1,000 civilians have been killed by Myanmar security forces and thousands have been arrested, according to the United Nations, amid a crackdown on strikes and protests that has derailed the country’s tentative democracy and prompted international condemnation.
Meanwhile, Tom Andrews, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, urged the United Nations General Assembly to act and deny the country’s military rulers “what it needs to keep holding them hostage: money, weapons, and legitimacy”.
Andrews urged the UN to pass a resolution prohibiting arms sales to Myanmar.
“This action is necessary because weapons and dual-use technology continued to be sold and shipped to the junta,” he said.
Andrews also called for sanctions to be imposed on Myanmar’s oil and gas enterprise, which he said is the single largest source of revenue for the military government.
The UN special rapporteur also warned of more possible bloodshed in the country, as the military moves “tens of thousands of troops, heavy weaponry, and other military assets” into the country’s northern region, where rebels are fighting the government.
“Unfortunately, we are likely on the eve of yet another catastrophe, including a significant loss of innocent lives and an even greater number of human rights violations,” he said.
The opposition National Unity Government (NUG) also warned of the military movement in Chin and Kayah states.
When added to the previously reported military violence in Sagaing and Magway regions of the country, the NUG said the latest troops moved to the north and other violence “demonstrate a widespread and systematic pattern of attacks conducted against civilians at the direction and in the full knowledge of the military leadership.”
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