Exclusive-UN envoy to hold "sideline" meetings ahead of ASEAN summit on Myanmar

Tom Allard and Poppy McPherson
·2-min read

By Tom Allard and Poppy McPherson

JAKARTA/BANGKOK (Reuters) - United Nations special envoy Christine Schraner Burgener will go to Jakarta on Thursday to meet senior members of Southeast Asian governments searching for a path to end bloodshed and restore stability in Myanmar, according to three sources familiar with her movements.

Burgener, the U.N. special envoy on Myanmar, will not be attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders' summit on Saturday but aimed to hold meetings on the sidelines of the event, the sources said.

Since the military overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi's elected government on Feb. 1, Myanmar has descended into violent turmoil amid a lethal crackdown by the junta on protesters and a collapse in its economy, raising concerns it will become a failed state.

At a closed-door meeting of the Security Council on April 1, Burgener warned if "collective action" was not taken by the international community to overturn the coup then a "bloodbath is imminent".

Burgener has arranged meetings with the foreign ministers of Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei, according to a U.N. source, who asked not to be identified.

She has also requested a meeting with the junta leader Min Aung Hlaing, who will attend the meeting in Jakarta according to a military spokesman quoted by Nikkei Asia.

Senior Jakarta-based diplomats told Reuters they still doubted Min Aung Hlaing would appear in person. "Everything is very uncertain," said one.

Burgener, who has been in Thailand for the past 12 days, has communicated with the military since the coup, but repeated efforts to visit Myanmar have been blocked.

The U.N. source said hopes were not high that the meeting with Min Aung Hlaing would take place. Burgener did not respond to requests for confirmation she had sought the meetings.

An Indonesian diplomatic source told Reuters that Indonesia's foreign minister, Retno Marsudi would be "happy to meet" Burgener.

Singapore and Brunei's foreign ministries and a spokesman for Myanmar's military did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

(Reporting by Tom Allard and Poppy McPherson. Additional reporting by Aradhana Aravindan in Singapore; Editing by Martin Petty)