Burma

Former Myanmar First Lady Refuses to Meet ASEAN Envoy

By The Irrawaddy 23 March 2022

Daw Su Su Lwin, the wife of former President U Htin Kyaw and a National League for Democracy (NLD) lawmaker, has refused to meet the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) special envoy to Myanmar, according to NLD lawmakers. 

The special envoy, Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn, was set to meet Daw Su Su Lwin at the Park Royal Hotel in Yangon.

However, Daw Su Su Lwin refused to meet the envoy, citing health issues, an NLD lawmaker told The Irrawaddy on condition of anonymity. Even if Daw Su Su Lwin had met with him, she could only have do so as a private individual and not as a representative of the NLD, added the lawmaker. 

“One point of the five-point consensus is for the ASEAN special envoy to meet all stakeholders. Without Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint, it is impossible to represent the NLD as well as democratic forces,” said the NLD lawmaker. 

Junta spokesman Major General Zaw Min Tun also told the BBC that Daw Su Su Lwin could not meet Prak Sokhonn because of her health. 

One Myanmar-based political analyst said Daw Su Su Lwin deliberately avoided meeting the ASEAN envoy because she is concerned that it might result in friction within the NLD. 

“If she meets him, I am not sure about other results, but it will definitely cause friction within the party. As the ASEAN envoy is the guest of the regime, meeting him amounts to recognizing the regime. That could lead to friction within the party, so Daw Su Su Lwin evaded the envoy,” said the political analyst. 

The central executive committee of the NLD also told the media that Daw Su Su Lwin’s meeting with the special envoy couldn’t be as an official representative of the NLD, while the NLD leadership is being detained by the military regime.

Another political analyst said that while the junta has detained senior NLD leaders to try and kill off the party, it was attempting to make use of Daw Su Su Lwin to show the international community that the NLD still exists. 

“China apparently does not like [the regime] ditching the NLD. China accepts that the NLD should exist in Myanmar’s politics. Although the regime dares not continue with its plan to dissolve the NLD under such circumstances, and it also dares not release NLD leaders, they want to show that the NLD still has representation. So they arranged a meeting between Daw Su Su Lwin and the special envoy. But Daw Su Su Lwin backed off as she can’t represent the NLD,” said the political analyst. 

ASEAN’s special envoy arrived in Myanmar on Monday and met junta leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, foreign minister U Wunna Maung Lwin, international cooperation minister U Ko Ko Hlaing and People’s Party chairman U Ko Ko Gyi. 

As Prak Sokhonn wrapped up his Myanmar visit on Wednesday, political analysts said that he only met regime representatives and failed to meet with all stakeholders, which goes against the five-point consensus. 

Another political analyst said: “As he did not meet other stakeholders, the ASEAN consensus can’t be implemented. One of the points in the consensus is to bring all the concerned parties to constructive dialogue. But the regime is not willing to engage in dialogue. So the ASEAN envoy can’t implement the ASEAN consensus.” 

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