Asean envoy wants 'full access' in Myanmar

Asean envoy wants 'full access' in Myanmar

Brunei diplomat aims to be 'better prepared' than during unsuccessful visit to junta-ruled country in June

Bruneian diplomat Erywan Pehin Yusof, shown here addressing the UN General Assembly in 2019, says a new visit to Myanmar is
Bruneian diplomat Erywan Pehin Yusof, shown here addressing the UN General Assembly in 2019, says a new visit to Myanmar is "in the pipeline". (Reuters Photo)

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: The Brunei diplomat appointed by Asean as its special envoy to Myanmar says he should be given full access to all parties when he visits the strife-torn country, where the military overthrew an elected government in February.

Speaking on Saturday, a day after his appointment, Erywan Yusof gave no date for his visit to Myanmar, where civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other officials have been detained since the Feb 1 coup.

Erywan has been tasked with overseeing humanitarian aid, ending violence in Myanmar and opening dialogue between the military rulers and opponents, whose protests and civil disobedience campaign have provoked an iron-fisted response.

“The planned visit to Myanmar is in the pipeline, and what we need to do is make sure we’re well prepared when we go there, unlike the visit I had in June,” Erywan, Brunei’s Second Foreign Affairs Minister, told reporters in Bandar Seri Begawan.

Erywan said he would seek a more substantive discussion, particularly on the cessation of violence, dialogue and mediation during the next Asean visit to Myanmar, while emphasising the importance for him to be given full access to all parties.

Myanmar civil society groups have rejected his appointment, saying Asean should have consulted opponents of the junta and other parties.

Erywan did not mention a timeline for securing humanitarian aid but said he hoped to garner the support needed for the effort.

The United Nations and many countries have urged Asean, whose 10 members include Myanmar, to spearhead diplomatic efforts to restore stability.

Military ruler Min Aung Hlaing this week assumed the post of interim prime minister and pledged to hold elections in 2023. When he overthrew the government in February, he said military rule would only last a year before new elections would be held.

His government says it acted within the constitution to remove Aung San Suu Kyi’s government, and objects to it being called a coup, and it also rejects the description of itself as a junta.

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