Myanmar’s Civilian President Holds Talks With European Union Envoy

By The Irrawaddy 11 March 2023

The European Union (EU) is ready and willing to expand humanitarian assistance for Myanmar people in need and to support the country’s struggle for democracy, the EU’s Special Envoy for Myanmar told the civilian National Unity Government (NUG).

Igor Driesmans, the EU Special Envoy for Myanmar, held virtual talks with NUG Acting President Duwa Lashi La on Thursday. The pair discussed a wide range of issues related to Myanmar.

NUG President’s Office spokesperson U Kyaw Zaw, who also joined the meeting, told The Irrawaddy that the two sides focused on the humanitarian and political crisis in Myanmar caused by the terrorist military regime, as well as the Spring Revolution and the need to build a genuine federal democratic union in Myanmar.

Over two years after the Myanmar military staged a coup, toppling the elected government and aborting the country’s fragile and long-hoped for political transformation to democracy, Myanmar has rapidly descended into chaos.

At least 3,120 people have died at the hands of the junta, while over 20,000 have been arrested by the regime, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

Despite Myanmar being one of Southeast Asia’s most resource-rich countries, the economy has tanked, driving the country towards failed-state status.

“The EU is standing together with the people of Myanmar and is looking to expand humanitarian assistance, as well as offering help and support for the democratic movement,” said U Kyaw Zaw.

“At the same time, we do have challenges in delivering assistance so we discussed coordination with the NUG, ethnic armed organizations and local CSOs on the ground to provide direct humanitarian assistance to people inside Myanmar and refugees,” he added.

The EU also expressed serious concern about atrocities committed by the military, especially the recent brutal mass killings committed by junta forces in Sagaing Region.

The EU special envoy said that the bloc is finding ways to take more action against the regime, the generals and their associates, while at the same holding them accountable.

“Overall, it was a very good meeting. We had a very friendly discussion and it was very productive as well,” said U Kyaw Zaw. He added that both sides will engage further in the future.

Last month, the EU imposed its latest round of sanctions targeting members of the junta, its arms brokers and jet fuel suppliers.