New envoy to crisis-torn Myanmar calls for full access to all parties

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A special envoy to Myanmar appointed by Southeast Asia’s regional bloc to help resolve the coup-hit country’s political crisis called Saturday for full access to all parties when he visits.

Brunei Second Foreign Minister Erywan Yusof was named to the role this week by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) after months of internal wrangling.

Member state Myanmar has been in chaos since the military junta ousted Aung San Suu Kyi’s government in February, accusing it of fraud during 2020 elections.

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The coup sparked mass protests, and more than 900 people have since been killed in a brutal crackdown on dissent, according to a local monitoring group.Yusof told reporters in Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of the sultanate on Borneo island, that his first visit as special envoy to Myanmar was “in the pipeline” but did not give a date.

He has already made one trip to Myanmar for ASEAN since the coup, on June 4, where he met with junta chief Min Aung Hlaing.

But he said his next visit would see “more substantive discussions” on issues including “cessation of violence, dialogue and mediation.”

He also stressed “the importance for the special envoy to be given full access to all parties concerned in Myanmar in order for meaningful progress to be made.”

Min Aung Hlaing attended an ASEAN meeting in April that led to a “consensus statement” that called for an immediate end to violence and the appointment of an envoy.

Yusof also said that efforts were underway to help get more emergency aid into Myanmar to help authorities battle a coronavirus outbreak.

Min Aung Hlaing recently promised to hold elections and lift a state of emergency by August 2023, extending a timeline given shortly after the coup.

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