Myanmar’s neighbors are stepping up efforts to resolve the political crisis triggered by the military’s overthrow of the country’s elected civilian government.
Wunna Maung Lwin, the junta’s foreign minister, traveled to Bangkok Wednesday for talks with Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai, according to a Thai government source.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi is also in the Thai capital for talks on the situation in Myanmar. Reuters news agency reported Retno and Wunna Maung Lwin met Wednesday, quoting a source from Thailand’s Foreign Ministry.
Protest in front of Indonesian embassy
News that Jakarta is seeking support from other member countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for a plan that would hold the junta to its promise of new elections within a year triggered angry protests in Yangon Tuesday in front of the Indonesian Embassy.
The demonstrators demanded that Indonesia respect the results of last November’s elections, won in a landslide by deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy.
Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Teuku Faizasyah denied the reports, telling reporters Tuesday that it “is not Indonesia’s position at all to support a new election in Myanmar.”
Popular protests have been staged across Myanmar on a daily basis since the military detained Suu Kyi and other members of the civilian government on February 1, claiming widespread election fraud. Three people have been killed as a result of the daily protests, including two who died Saturday in Mandalay — one of them a teenage boy — when police and security forces used live rounds and rubber bullets, tear gas, water cannon and slingshots against demonstrators.
Massive demonstrations on Monday, combined with a general strike, took place in defiance of the junta’s ominous warning issued the day before that protesters were heading down a “confrontation path where they will suffer the loss of life.”
“UNICEF is once again calling on security forces to refrain from violence, to exercise maximum restraint and for differences to be resolved through constructive and peaceful means, prioritizing the protection and safety of children and young people,” U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said at a daily briefing, noting that two children had died in the protests in the past week.
The spokesperson added that there was a ship carrying Rohingya refugees in the Adaman Sea.
"Our colleagues at the International Organization for Migration today called on countries in the region to meet their international obligations and to ensure that all people on board are immediately rescued and safely disembarked,” he said. “The vessel has been at sea for more than 10 days and there has reportedly been loss of life on board.”
The United States and other Western nations have demanded the release of Suu Kyi and her lieutenants and have called on the junta to restore power to the civilian government.