Burmese opposition welcome exclusion of military from Asean summit

Shadow government-in-exile demands to be Myanmar's sole legitimate representative. Southeast Asian nations have proposed inviting a neutral, non-political delegate.


Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Myanmar's shadow government, made up of exiled opponents of the military junta, has welcomed the Southeast Asian nations' decision to exclude the army chief from a summit meeting. 

The Government of National Unity (Gun) added that one of their representatives should be invited to the summit in place of General Min Aung Hlaing, head of the Tatmadaw (the Burmese army), who has proclaimed himself prime minister. "ASEAN excluding Min Aung Hlaing is an important step, but we ask that they recognize us as the true representative [of Myanmar]," said the Gun spokesman.

In recent days, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) proposed that a neutral, non-political delegate be invited to the summit to be held Oct. 26-28. A spokesman for the military government criticized Asean's choice, attributing it to "foreign intervention." 

The decision to exclude representatives of the military junta is unprecedented for ASEAN, which has always favored a policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of its member countries. The organization says the Tatmadaw has made no progress in restoring peace in Myanmar.

The military junta seized control of the country in a coup on Feb. 1 and then violently suppressed anti-coup protests. Opponents, including the nation's former civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, have been arrested. To date, the Tatmadaw has killed more than 1,100 people and at least 215,000 people have been displaced in the country. 

In April, ASEAN and General Min Aung Hlaing agreed to a five-point plan to restore peace to the country, but regional nations blame the junta for failing to abide by it and effectively withdrawing from the agreement.