Myanmar envoy urges US to recognise new anti-coup government

Newly formed government of national unity seeks cash and diplomatic influence from world’s top democracy

FILE PHOTO: Myanmar's United Nations ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun addresses the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo
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Myanmar’s UN ambassador on Tuesday urged the US to take the lead in overturning the February 1 military coup with sanctions, an arms embargo, a no-fly zone and by backing a newly formed government of national unity.

Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, who has denounced the coup and rejected the junta's claims that he no longer represents Myanmar, urged the US Congress to "take a decisive leadership role" in ending the "murderous military regime".

“The US and the international community must act now, decisively, in a collective, concrete and timely manner to avoid further killing of innocent civilians and bloodshed in Myanmar,” he told a Congressional committee.

“Please do not let the killing continue. Please act now.”

The envoy called for a no-fly zone above parts of the South-East Asian nation, a global arms embargo and for an increase in US and international sanctions against the military, the banks they control and their families.

Kyaw Moe Tun said the US should recognise the government of national unity, which should be given access to the military-owned bank accounts and assets that have been frozen by US officials.

The junta’s diplomats should be denied US visas, he said.

The administration of US President Joe Biden has already imposed sanctions on Myanmar’s army chiefs.

But some US senators have urged Mr Biden to go further and block the revenue of a state energy company, among other targets.

“We are configuring the ending of the murderous military regime and paving a way to finding sustainable solutions to the challenges we face,” Kyaw Moe Tun said.

“Time is of the essence for the people of Myanmar, who feel helpless.”

Speaking in London at G7 talks for major world democracies, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the group was “united in condemning the coup and the regime’s violence” in Myanmar.

“We urge all countries to reconsider economic ties to the Burmese military,” Mr Blinken said.

In New York, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric described a “deteriorating humanitarian situation” in Myanmar’s south-east, where about 40,000 people have fled their homes in recent months after air strikes by the military.

“The continued fighting in Kachin and northern Shan states has caused thousands of people to flee their homes in recent weeks as a result of armed clashes,” Mr Dujarric said.

More than 750 people have been killed in the military’s crackdown on pro-democracy protesters since it removed an elected government led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1.