Myanmar Shadow Govt Condemns Ban Ki-moon’s ‘Unethical’ Meeting With Junta Chief

By The Irrawaddy 26 April 2023

The acting president of Myanmar’s civilian National Unity Government (NUG) has condemned former UN chief Ban Ki-moon’s meeting with the Myanmar regime leader as “unethical” and an attempt to “promote a bloody thug on the world stage.”

Ban met with junta boss Min Aung Hlaing in Naypyitaw on Monday at the latter’s invitation, in what the ex-UN secretary-general said was an attempt to find a path to end the violence in Myanmar. The country has been engulfed by violence with armed resistance to the regime spreading nationwide since a military coup in 2021.

Ban said in a statement on Tuesday that he met with the regime leaders and former president U Thein Sein to discuss the current situation. He emphasized the importance of all parties playing a role in securing a lasting solution to the crisis, including the NUG, a civilian parallel government which commands the loyalty of the vast majority of Myanmar people. The regime has branded the NUG and its armed wing, the People’s Defense Forces, as terrorist organizations.

In his response to the meeting, NUG Acting President Duwa Lashi La said during a cabinet meeting on the same day that the meeting should be denounced as Ban was “promoting the thug [regime], which has been committing atrocities against its own people, on the international stage.”

“I think it’s ethically incorrect,” he said.

Since the coup, unable to bring large parts of Myanmar under its control, the regime has resorted to the increasing use of air strikes, raids and the burning of villages in its effort to defeat the resistance. It has killed more than 3,400 people, mostly civilians, so far.

The acting president also said representatives of international blocs seem to be trying to “coax” the regime rather than punishing and isolating it.

Since the coup, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the UN have sent envoys to engage with the regime, hoping to solve the country’s political crisis. But so far their efforts have failed to stop the regime from killing civilians.

“They used the same approach during previous military regimes. That’s why military dictatorship in our country has survived,” Duwa Lashi La said, referring to failed international attempts to persuade the former junta, which ruled from 1998 to the early 2000s, to allow democratization.

He said it is necessary to punish Min Aung Hlaing and his subordinates in order to end their atrocities against civilians. He said the people’s suffering under the regime can’t be ignored and the international community must be made aware of it.

“Even though I consider international intervention as a positive approach, I would seriously condemn any efforts that would keep the military dictatorship alive,” he said.