UK’s Top Diplomat in Myanmar Says Ordered to Leave by Junta

By The Irrawaddy 14 July 2022

The Myanmar regime has increased its diplomatic isolation from the West by expelling a British envoy to the country, with the chargé d’affaires ad interim at the British Embassy in Yangon, Pete Vowles, being “forced to leave the country.”

Vowles tweeted on Wednesday that his time in the country had come to an abrupt end.

“Sad & sorry to have been forced by the junta to leave but glad we didn’t cave to pressure to legitimize their brutal coup,” he writes in the tweet.

After being named Britain’s ambassador, Vowles took up his appointment in Myanmar in August 2021 but did not present his credentials to the regime despite repeated requests from the junta. He was locked out of the country from late February, when he left his Yangon residence for regional consultations and was refused permission to re-enter. After being stranded in Thailand for a few months, it is believed he was allowed to return to Myanmar last month.

After London decided to downgrade Vowles’ title from ambassador to chargé d’affaires ad interim, the State Administration Council (SAC), the regime’s governing body, formally notified Britain in late April that it would not accept its designated envoy as chargé d’affaires, but would consider alternative candidates. His title on social media was amended earlier this year to “Head of British Embassy in Myanmar.”

Vowles also tweeted on Wednesday that he knew the British Embassy in Myanmar would continue to stand up and do everything it can for the people of Myanmar “who want nothing more than peace, freedom and justice.”