Sunday, 24 September 2023

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Myanmar junta-backed media slams ‘rotten’ United Nations

YANGON, MYANMAR — Myanmar state media condemned the United Nations as “rotten” on Friday, days after the UN special envoy for the country stepped down and the world body slammed curbs on aid for cyclone survivors.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military seized power in February 2021, ending a brief democratic experiment and sparking clashes across the country with ethnic rebel groups and anti-coup fighters.

The military has criticised attempts by the UN and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations bloc to establish a dialogue between the junta and its opponents, whom it has vowed to “annihilate”.

The state-backed Global New Light of Myanmar published an opinion piece on Friday entitled “The Picture of Irrelevance”, accompanied by a photo of the UN headquarters in New York.

“Inside, it is infested with egos. Its core is rotten,” the piece said.

“The arrogance, ignorance and self-interest have so polluted their minds that they are either in denial of how irrelevance (sic) their existence has become… or just simply incompetent and incapable of seeing the reality.”

UN special envoy for Myanmar Noeleen Heyzer stepped down this week after an 18-month tenure in which she was criticised by both the junta and its opponents.

The Singaporean sociologist was tasked with urging the military to engage in political dialogue with opposing groups, and end a bloody crackdown it launched after toppling the government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

She visited last August and met junta chief Min Aung Hlaing and other top military officials in a move criticised by rights groups as lending legitimacy to the generals.

“This week another one of them ‘bites the dust’, in connection with Myanmar,” the op-ed said, without mentioning Heyzer by name.

“These people should be given no role in finding solutions for the problems Myanmar is facing,” it said.

“Solutions for Myanmar will come from within and with the help, cooperation and understanding of the neighbours and friendly countries.”

Earlier this month Heyzer met Zin Mar Aung — the foreign minister of the National Unity Government (NUG) dominated by lawmakers ousted in the coup, which is working to topple the junta.

The military has declared the NUG as a “terrorist” organisation.

Friday’s article comes as the UN struggles to get access to areas in western Myanmar devastated by the deadly Cyclone Mocha last month.

On Tuesday the UN denounced the junta’s “unfathomable” decision to suspend travel authorisations for aid workers trying to reach more than a million people in cyclone-ravaged Rakhine state.


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