Myanmar shadow govt praises the move
Myanmar's shadow government, formed by opponents of ruling military, yesterday welcomed the exclusion of junta leader Min Aung Hlaing from an upcoming regional summit, but said it should be the legitimate representative.
However, the opposition said it would accept inviting a truly neutral alternative Myanmar representative, as decided over the weekend by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
Asean will invite a non-political representative from Myanmar to its October 26-28 summit, in an unprecedented snub to the military leaders behind a February 1 coup against Aung San Suu Kyi's elected government.
The opposition National Unity Government (NUG), which has been outlawed by the military, said the non-political figure who attends the summit must not be a representative of the junta in disguise.
"Asean excluding Min Aung Hlaing is an important step, but we request that they recognize us as the proper representative," said its spokesman Dr. Sasa.
The decision was an unusually bold step for the consensus-driven bloc, which traditionally favors a policy of engagement and non-interference.
Meanwhile, Myanmar's junta chief yesterday announced the release of more than 5,000 people jailed for protesting against the coup.
There has been chaos in Myanmar since the coup, with more than 1,100 civilians killed in a bloody crackdown on dissent and more than 8,000 arrested, according to a local monitoring group.