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This article is more than 3 month old.

UN envoy warns of Myanmar civil war if no successful talks

Mini

The UN special envoy for Myanmar warned Tuesday of a full-scale civil war if the powerful military, supporters of the ousted democracy, ethnic groups and other key parties dont hold a successful dialogue on all issues ranging from the current COVID-19 outbreak to the root causes of the countrys crisis.

UN envoy warns of Myanmar civil war if no successful talks
The UN special envoy for Myanmar warned Tuesday of a full-scale civil war if the powerful military, supporters of the ousted democracy, ethnic groups and other key parties dont hold a successful dialogue on all issues ranging from the current COVID-19 outbreak to the root causes of the countrys crisis.
Christine Schraner Burgener told a news conference that clashes between the military and local defense forces are continuing, people are frightened and suffering, there is no freedom of speech, the World Bank predicts an 18% drop in GDP this year and the International Labor Organization estimates 2.2 million jobs have been lost since January.
On top of that, she said, Myanmar is currently facing a severe COVID-19 third wave with more than 333,000 reported cases, including 3,611 new cases on Monday.
Myanmar for five decades had languished under strict military rule that led to international isolation and sanctions. As the generals loosened their grip, culminating in Aung San Suu Kyis rise to leadership in 2015 elections, the international community responded by lifting most sanctions and pouring investment into the country. The Feb. 1 coup followed November elections, which Suu Kyis National League for Democracy party won overwhelmingly and the military contests as fraudulent.
Schraner Burgener said Myanmars military leader, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, wants to maintain his grip on power, pointing to the recent declaration naming him prime minister, the annulment of Novembers election and fears that Suu Kyis party will soon be disbanded.
In her wide-ranging discussions with all sides in Myanmar, she said she realized no sides will give up and are ready to make any compromises.
So she said she decided not to wait for the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations known as ASEAN to appoint a special envoy and moved ahead with her proposal for an all-inclusive dialogue that would also include discussions of humanitarian assistance, the plight of Myanmars Rohingya Muslim minority and root causes the countrys federal system, constitution, army, election and legal systems, and more.
Over the last two months, Schraner Burgener said, she discussed her proposal with key parties in Myanmar and the international community.
Her proposal also envisions an international observer group including China, India, Japan, Thailand, United States, United Kingdom, Norway, Switzerland, European Union, United Nations and ASEAN, which includes Myanmar.
During her discussions, she said Myanmars ethnic armed organizations were in the majority very positive of this idea and members of the National United Government, established by elected legislators who were barred from taking their seats when the military seized power on Feb. 1, were interested in the ideal but clearly would have preconditions to start such a dialogue.
Schraner Burgener said she had a long conversation with deputy military chief Soe Win on July 16 on many issues including the proposal for a dialogue, but I didnt receive an answer, and since then, There is no positive feedback from the army on this dialogue, which I really regret.
Nonetheless, she said, a dialogue will hopefully start through ASEAN and its new special envoy for Myanmar, Bruneis Second Foreign Minister Erywan Yusof. She said she had a long videoconference Monday with Yusof, who plans to visit Myanmar after consulting key parties, and told him, He can count on my full support.
I also offered to join him, so I hope that the army will be ready also to receive me, she said, adding that she believes the military keeps saying its not ready to meet her not because they dont want to talk to her but because people on the ground would be very encouraged by my presence in the country, and thats probably something which the army doesnt want to see.
Schraner Burgener said she remains worried that the country will move in the direction of a civil war if the dialogue, which hopefully will start through ASEAN, will not be successfully done.
We see a lot of violence on the ground, she said.
Many people are afraid of the huge violence scale of the military, she said, but the peoples defense forces have also moved from using self-made weapons and are using now professional weapons.
So, I really hope that a dialogue can happen to avoid a breakout of a full-scale civil war, Schraner Burgener said.
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