By ELAINE KURTENBACH, Related Press
BANGKOK (AP) — Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s go to to Myanmar looking for to revive peace efforts after final 12 months’s army takeover has provoked an indignant backlash amongst critics, who say he’s legitimizing the military’s seizure of energy.
Hun Sen is the primary head of presidency to go to Myanmar for the reason that army takeover final February. The authoritarian Cambodian chief has held energy for 36 years and retains a good leash on political exercise at dwelling.
In his function as the present chairperson of the Affiliation of Southeast Asian Nations, he met with Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, who ousted the elected authorities of Aung San Suu Kyi, plunging Myanmar into violent battle and financial catastrophe.
Photographs posted by a military-related publication, the In style Information Journal, confirmed the 2 standing aspect by aspect in face masks, bumping forearms and seated on ornate gilt chairs earlier than an elaborate golden display screen.
Political Cartoons on World Leaders
The Myanmar Info Ministry stated the 2 held talks on bilateral ties and problems with mutual concern, together with ASEAN. It didn’t elaborate.
Protests and rallies have been held in some components of Myanmar as folks expressed anger over Hun Sen’s go to.
Lots of of protesters burned portraits of the Cambodian prime minister and chanted, “Torch inhumane Hun Sen. Individuals who have interaction with Min Aung Hlaing ought to die horrible deaths,” movies of the protest posted on-line confirmed.
Final April, ASEAN leaders, together with Min Aung Hlaing, agreed on a five-point roadmap towards a peaceable settlement of the Myanmar disaster, together with an finish to violence and a political dialogue between all stakeholders.
The Myanmar chief was barred in October from attending ASEAN conferences after the group’s particular envoy was prevented from assembly with Suu Kyi and different political detainees, which was one of many stipulations of the settlement.
Hun Sen stated on Wednesday earlier than leaving Cambodia that he had not set any preconditions for his go to.
“What I wish to carry to the talks is nothing apart from the 5 factors, consensus factors that have been agreed upon by all ASEAN member states,” he stated.
Myanmar’s army has stated Hun Sen is not going to be allowed to satisfy with Suu Kyi, who was convicted in December on expenses of incitement and violating coronavirus restrictions and sentenced to 4 years in jail — a sentence that Min Aung Hlaing then minimize in half.
A authorized official acquainted with Suu Kyi’s authorized proceedings stated she appeared at a particular courtroom in Naypyitaw, Myanmar’s capital, on Friday for hearings in three corruption circumstances in opposition to her that embrace allegations she diverted charitable donations to construct a residence and abused her authority.
The military’s takeover prevented Suu Kyi’s Nationwide League for Democracy occasion from starting a second time period in workplace. It gained a landslide victory in nationwide elections in November 2020 and unbiased election observers didn’t discover any main irregularities.
Min Aung Hlaing’s transfer undid 10 years of progress towards democracy as the military loosened its grip on energy after a long time of repressive army rule.
The Myanmar army has a historical past of bloodshed, together with a brutal marketing campaign in opposition to the Rohingya Muslim minority. Its seizure of energy provoked nationwide nonviolent demonstrations, which safety forces have quashed with lethal drive.
The army has not too long ago engaged in violent suppression of all dissent, disappearances, torture and extra-judicial killings. It has additionally launched air strikes and floor offensives in opposition to ethnic armed insurgent teams.
Safety forces have killed about 1,443 civilians, in accordance with an in depth tally by the Help Affiliation for Political Prisoners. Because the crackdown has develop into extra extreme, an armed resistance has grown contained in the nation.
The go to by Hun Sen drew worldwide criticism.
His determination to satisfy with Min Aung Hlaing was “an affront to the folks of Myanmar who strongly oppose the go to,” stated Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch.
“The go to is a slap within the face of the opposite ASEAN member states who had no say within the matter” even after they restricted Min Aung Hlaing’s participation within the 10-nation regional group, he stated.
Hun Sen was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Prak Sokhonn, the present ASEAN particular envoy, and different high Cambodian leaders.
Having retained energy by exiling or imprisoning the Cambodian opposition, Hun Sen could also be hoping his go to will burnish his personal tarnished worldwide picture.
The Nationwide Unity Authorities, an underground Myanmar opposition group and parallel administration, urged Hun Sen to remain away.
“Assembly Min Aung Hlaing, shaking blood-stained fingers. It’s not going to be acceptable,” stated Dr. Sasa, a spokesman for the group who makes use of one title.
Related Press journalists Sopheng Cheang in Phnom Penh, Kiko Rosario in Manila, Philippines, and Jerry Harmer in Bangkok contributed to this report.
Copyright 2022 The Related Press. All rights reserved. This materials will not be printed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.