Washington invokes Asean intervention in Myanmar crisis
General Min Aung Hlaing has proclaimed himself prime minister and extended the state of emergency until 2023, promising free elections. According to the United States, the junta is "stalling" and therefore a diplomatic intervention is necessary. In the meantime, contagions are on the rise and the arrests of doctors and nurses continue.
Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The United States has accused Myanmar’s military junta of "taking its time" and is calling for an intervention by ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) to resolve the crisis created in the wake of the February 1 military coup that ousted Aung San Suu Kyi.
The statements come as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken who is participating in a week of online talks with Asean foreign ministers: an attempt by the Biden administration to counter the Chinese presence in the region.
On August 1, General Min Aung Hlaing proclaimed himself prime minister and extended the state of emergency until 2023. In a speech broadcast on national television, the head of the military junta then added that "multi-party elections" would be held in Myanmar.
Blinken's statement is a sort of appeal to Asean to "intensify its efforts", because it is clear that the Burmese junta is "stalling for its own benefit".
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric also expressed concern about the situation in Myanmar: "The protracted crisis has impacted humanitarian access, education and the fight against Covid-19," he said. "Clearly it has also affected the right of the people to express themselves and to have a government that represents them."
Yesterday, Myanmar reported 3,689 new cases of coronavirus and 330 deaths, but the numbers are thought to be vastly underestimated due to the few swabs taken. In his Aug. 1 speech, General Aung Hlaing also accused the opposition of deliberately spreading the virus and called for everyone's cooperation in combating the pandemic. But doctors and nurses continue to be arrested: according to data from the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, so far the military junta has imprisoned over 7,000 people and killed at least 945.