Myanmar foreign minister visiting Cambodia after Suu Kyi sentencing

Myanmar foreign minister visiting Cambodia after Suu Kyi sentencing

Handout from National Television of Cambodia (TVK) shows Myanmar Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin, left, being welcomed by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh on Tuesday. (Photo: Handout/ Reuters)
Handout from National Television of Cambodia (TVK) shows Myanmar Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin, left, being welcomed by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh on Tuesday. (Photo: Handout/ Reuters)

PHNOM PENH: Myanmar's military-appointed foreign minister, Wunna Maung Lwin, held talks in Cambodia on Tuesday, a day after the junta drew global condemnation for sentencing deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi to jail for incitement and breaching Covid-19 rules.

Wunna Maung met Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, with the men tapping elbows in a greeting before talks, government handout pictures showed.

Hun Sen and Wunna Maung Lwin discussed bilateral relations, Asean issues and ways to re-establish good relationships within the bloc, said Eang Sophalleth, an assistant to the prime minister.

The foreign minister also handed Hun Sen an invitation for a visit to Myanmar on Jan 7-8, which Hun Sen accepted, Eang Sophalleth said. Hun Sen would be the first government leader to visit Myanmar since the coup.

Cambodia will be the chair of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) next year, a bloc that includes Myanmar.

Asean has seen divisions emerge between members over its diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis in Myanmar since Suu Kyi's government was overthrown in a Feb 1 coup and she and others were detained.

Myanmar's military leader Min Aung Hlaing was not invited to the annual summit of group leaders in October hosted by Brunei after members failed to reach a consensus, but Hun Sen on Monday said junta officials should be invited to the bloc's meetings.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the coup, which led to widespread protests and raised international concern about the end of tentative political reforms following decades of military rule.

A Myanmar court found Suu Kyi guilty of charges of incitement and breaching coronavirus restrictions on Monday, drawing international condemnation of what critics described as a "sham trial". She is set to serve two years in detention at an undisclosed location, a sentence reduced from four years after a partial pardon from Myanmar's military chief.

Suu Kyi's supporters say the cases against her are baseless and designed to end her political career and tie her up in legal proceedings while the military consolidates power. Her conviction had been widely expected in Myanmar.

Demonstrators in the largest city, Yangon, risked arrest to stage a flash protest right after the verdict though there were no immediate reports of fresh demonstrations on Tuesday.

Hun Sen, who has over the years faced criticism from rights groups and Western governments over what they see as his suppression of democracy, said on Monday he planned to visit Myanmar for talks with its military rulers

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