General Min Aung Hlaing delivers a speech at the IX Moscow conference on June 23, 2021. File/Reuters
Myanmar's junta chief said on Sunday that elections would be held and a state of emergency lifted by August 2023 and said his government is ready to work with any special envoy named by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The junta chief has extended the military's initial timeline given when it deposed Aung San Suu Kyi six months ago.
He spoke in a televised address six months after the army seized power from a civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi. The country has been in turmoil since the army ousted the civilian leader in February, launching a bloody crackdown on dissent that has killed more than 900 people according to a local monitoring group.
Flags are seen outside the ASEAN secretariat building in Jakarta, Indonesia. File/Reuters
"Myanmar is ready to work on ASEAN cooperation within the ASEAN framework including the dialogue with the ASEAN Special Envoy in Myanmar," Min Aung Hlaing said.
ASEAN foreign ministers are to meet on Monday, when diplomats say they aim to finalise a special envoy tasked with ending violence and promoting dialogue between the junta and its opponents.
Min Aung Hlaing also repeated a pledge to restore democracy, though again without detailing a time frame.
"I guarantee the establishment of a union based on democracy and federalism," he said.
Protesters carry a wounded man shot with live rounds by security forces during a crackdown in Yangon. File/AFP
In a televised address junta leader Min Aung Hlaing said "we will accomplish the provisions of the state of emergency by August 2023."
"I pledge to hold multiparty elections without fail," he added.
The general’s announcement would place Myanmar in the military's grip for nearly two and a half years — instead of the initial one-year timeline the junta announced days after the coup.
The army has justified its power grab by alleging massive fraud during 2020 elections won by Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy in a landslide, and has threatened to dissolve the party.
Western countries have condemned the coup and called for an end to the violence and for the release of Suu Kyi and others. Asian neighbours have offered to help find a solution to the crisis.
Big article about the power of the smartphone in reporting the world’s issues, the highlight of the article being the coup in Myanmar (“Chilling smartphone imagery stuns a watching world,” Mar.20, Gulf Today). But the article, while it extols the power
The talks will come two days after the bloodiest day of unrest since the military removed Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government a month ago, unleashing anger and mass street protests across Myanmar.
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