Sunday, March 7, 2021

UN chief rallying global pressure to nix Myanmar coup

Election winner Aung San Suu Kyi has not been heard from since the military takeover.

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United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres pledged on Wednesday to mobilise international pressure on Myanmar’s military to end Monday’s coup.

The reversal of elections is “unacceptable”, he said, and coup leaders must be made to understand this is no way to rule the country.

The Myanmar army detained the country’s elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and many others on Monday in response to “election fraud”.

Army chief Min Aung Hlaing took the reins of power and imposed a state of emergency for one year. The country is now ruled by an 11-member military junta.

Neither Suu Kyi nor deposed President Win Myint have been heard from since the takeover which cut short Myanmar’s long transition to democracy.

“We will do everything we can to mobilise the international community to put enough pressure on Myanmar to make sure that this coup fails,” Guterres told The Washington Post. “It is absolutely unacceptable after elections – elections that I believe took place normally – and after a large period of transition.”

The UN Security Council is discussing a possible statement. An initial draft put forward by Britain forcibly condemned the coup. However, diplomats said the language would likely need to be softened to win the support of China and Russia, who have traditionally shielded Myanmar in the Security Council.

Guterres said, “Aung San Suu Kyi – if we can accuse her of something – is that she was too close to the military, is that she protected too much the military, namely in relation to what has happened with the dramatic offensive of the military army against the Rohingya.

“All those detained by the military during the coup must be released and constitutional order restored,” he said.

“I hope that it will be possible to make the military in Myanmar understand that this is not the way to rule the country and this is not the way to move forward.”

Meanwhile internet providers in Myanmar including state-owned telecom MPT were blocking access to Facebook-owned services in the country on Thursday (Feb 4).

A letter posted online by the Ministry of Communications and Information overnight said Facebook would be blocked until Feb 7 for the sake of “stability”.

Some users in Myanmar reported they were not able to access several Facebook services.

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