UN Envoy Calls for Unity Among Regional Players to Solve Myanmar Crisis
By The Irrawaddy 11 May 2023
The United Nations (UN) Special Envoy for Myanmar said a unified regional approach guided by the will of Myanmar people can make progress in solving the country’s crisis during her Tuesday meeting with government officials in India.
UN envoy Noeleen Heyzer met with India’s Minister for External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra and Joint Secretary (Bangladesh-Myanmar) Smita Pant in New Delhi.
Myanmar has been wracked by violence since the military’s 2021 coup. The putsch met with nationwide public opposition which the military regime responded to with deadly force, triggering armed resistance across the country.
Along with China, India is Myanmar’s most powerful neighbor and has been impacted by the crisis in Myanmar, with over 53,000 refugees from Myanmar currently sheltering in border regions in India, according to the Office of the UN Special Envoy to Myanmar.
During the meeting, the Indian officials told Noeleen Heyzer that there is a need for an immediate cessation of violence by all sides and the fostering of dialogue for the return of peace, stability and democracy in Myanmar.
Heyzer said a unified regional approach supporting Myanmar-led solutions, in accordance with
the will and needs of the people, can make tangible progress on the ground.
“The Special Envoy reinforced the need for concrete steps to resolve the crisis and a return to civilian rule based on the will of the people, such as cessation of violence, immediate release of all political prisoners, including State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint, and unimpeded humanitarian assistance through all available channels,” said the Office of the UN Special Envoy in a statement.
Prior to her meeting with India’s external affairs minister, Noeleen Heyzer met with China’s foreign minister Qin Gang, and was told that the international community should support all parties in Myanmar and restart the political transition process through political dialogue in order to bring peace to the country.
“We need to act prudently and pragmatically to prevent escalating tensions and a spillover of the crisis,” said Qin.
Currently, both India and China have engaged with the junta in Myanmar. Along with Myanmar’s other neighbors, they participated in the Thailand-initiated Track 1.5 roundtable as a way of opening additional channels for dialogue among stakeholders affected by the Myanmar crisis.
The roundtable — its second meeting was lately hosted by India — came after the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Five-Point Consensus peace plan stalled, after the military regime failed to honor its commitments.
Noeleen Heyzer visited Myanmar last year and met with junta chief Min Aung Hlaing, but no progress was made on breaking the political deadlock in the country.