ASEAN Special Envoy Will Not Meet Suu Kyi During Myanmar Visit



ASEAN’s special envoy for Myanmar, the Cambodian foreign minister Prak Sokhonn, will not visit jailed State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi during his three-day trip to Myanmar which began on Monday.

The special envoy’s itinerary, seen by The Irrawaddy, says he will meet the regime’s peace committee, politicians like U Ko Ko Gyi, the chairman of the People’s Party, who is not critical of the junta, after meeting the country’s regime chief Min Aung Hlaing.

He planned to meet Daw Su Su Lwin, a former first lady, parliamentarian and member of the National League for Democracy (NLD), and ex-NLD president U Htin Kyaw but the meeting is not on the list.

On Monday, Prak Sokhonn met Min Aung Hlaing in Naypyitaw.

It is his first visit as special envoy and he discussed ways to make progress through talks, according to the junta’s governing body, the State Administrative Council.

Myanmar has been in violent turmoil since the military takeover last year after the junta gunned down protesters.

To defuse Myanmar’s crisis, ASEAN and Min Aung Hlaing agreed a five-point peace plan, including a halt to violence and the visit of an ASEAN special envoy, in April last year. But Min Aung Hlaing failed to honor the agreement, causing disagreement among the bloc’s members.

The previous ASEAN envoy’s visit to the country was canceled last year after the junta said no meeting with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi would be allowed. The crisis has since deteriorated. By Monday, the junta had killed at least 1,687 people, mainly for anti-regime activism, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners monitoring group.

Prak Sokhonn became ASEAN’s special envoy for Myanmar after Cambodia took the rotating ASEAN chair this year. His appointment came after Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen visited Myanmar to meet the coup leader in January to broker talks. The visit was criticized for legitimizing the regime.

During Monday’s meeting, Min Aung Hlaing tried to play down the crisis and reiterated claims that the anti-junta protests were politically motivated, leading to unrest and violence, prompting the military to respond.

The junta said the implementation of the five-point plan and access to humanitarian aid was discussed. Tens of thousands of civilians have been displaced as junta troops torch villages in resistance strongholds.

Prak Sokhonn will tour Yangon General Hospital and meet members of the Myanmar Red Cross Society.

The General Strike Coordination Body, a leading anti-regime movement, issued a statement Monday condemning the visit of a special envoy who has failed to object to the junta’s atrocities.