Myanmar shadow govt. wants invite for ASEAN crisis talks


Myanmar’s shadow government on Sunday urged Southeast Asian leaders to give it a seat at the table during crisis talks next week, and not to recognise the military regime that seized power in a February coup.

Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing is expected to join a special ASEAN summit on Myanmar on Saturday in Jakarta — his first official overseas trip since the putsch that ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Army has moved to quell mass protests against its rule, killing at least 730 people according to a local monitoring group.

The military chief’s invitation to the meeting of the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations has drawn scorn from activists who have urged foreign leaders not to formally recognise the junta.

Moe Zaw Oo, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for the parallel “national unity government” — formed on Friday by ousted lawmakers mostly from Ms. Suu Kyi’s party, as well as ethnic-minority politicians — said ASEAN had not reached out to them.

“If ASEAN wants to help solve the Myanmar situation, they are not going to achieve anything without consulting and negotiating with the NUG, which is supported by the people and has full legitimacy,” he told Voice of America’s Burmese service.

“It’s important that this military council is not recognised. This needs to be handled carefully.”

Unrest continued across the country on Sunday, with protesters rallying in Mandalay, Meiktila, Magway and Myingyan, showing support for the national unity government.

At Palaw in the country’s south, demonstrators brandished banners that read: “Military dictators should not be allowed to rule. The dictatorship will be uprooted. Support the national unity government.”

Young demonstrators also staged motorbike rallies while carrying flags in Hpakant and Sagaing.

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