Myanmar’s military regime has rejected a request for a meeting later this month between the country’s ousted leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) special envoy to Myanmar.
Instead of meeting with the detained State Counselor, ASEAN envoy Erywan Yusof has been offered a meeting with former Vice President Henry Van Thio and the former Lower House speaker T Khun Myat, sources said.
ASEAN’s envoy has been in talks with the regime since last month over the terms of a visit to Myanmar. Top of his list was a request to talk to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Myanmar’s military seized power from the Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy (NLD) government in a February 1 coup.
Erywan Yusof, Brunei’s Second Minister for Foreign Affairs, was chosen as ASEAN’s special envoy to Myanmar in August after lengthy wrangling. He has called for full access to all parties when he visits the country, but his efforts to open dialogue between the military regime and the ousted government have failed so far.
“There is an urgent need to go now to Myanmar. But I think before all that, I need to have assurances,” the envoy told Reuters last month.
The envoy added that he has asked the State Administration Council – the junta’s ruling body – for access to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
In September, the regime’s spokesperson Major General Zaw Min Tun told AFP, “We will allow meetings with official organizations.”
Erywan Yusof plans to visit Myanmar this month, ahead of an ASEAN summit later this month. But the regime has reportedly told him that he will only be allowed to meet Henry Van Thio and T Khun Myat.
Both Henry Van Thio, an ethnic Chin former army officer, and T Khun Myat, an ethnic Kachin, are under house arrest, although no charges have been brought against the men. T Khun Myat previously served as an executive member of the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party.
With most of the NLD’s leadership in detention, it is expected that they will not support the ASEAN envoy meeting Henry Van Thio and T Khun Myat.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, 76, is being detained by the junta at an unknown location in Myanmar’s capital Naypyitaw. She faces a raft of charges including breaching COVID-19 regulations, sedition, illegal possession of walkie-talkies and a number of corruption cases.
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