Myanmar recalls UK ambassador after he called for release of Aung San Suu Kyi

State media says diplomat did not ‘conduct himself in accordance with responsibilities’

Adam Forrest
Tuesday 09 March 2021 15:02 GMT
Myanmar police use water cannon on military coup protesters

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Myanmar has recalled its British ambassador only a day after he urged the country’s military junta to release detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, state media has reported.

The MRTV news channel said Kyaw Swar Min had been recalled from London after he released the statement without following orders.

“Since he did not conduct himself in accordance with given responsibilities, an order [is issued] to summon and transfer him back to the ministry of foreign affairs,” MRTV reported.

Dominic Raab has urged the military rulers to release Ms Aung from detention, but the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has yet to comment on the recall of Mynamar’s ambassador.

On Monday the foreign secretary said he had spoken to Mr Kyaw about Ms Aung and president Win Myint, who has also been detained. “I praised his courage and patriotism in standing up for what is right,” he said.

Mr Raab also shared a statement from the ambassador in which he said he agreed with the UK government that Ms Aung and the president should be released.

Ms Aung was detained along with most of her cabinet after the army seized power in a coup on 1 February, sparking international outrage.

World leaders have been calling for the release of the 75-year-old, who was taken away along with colleagues from the National League for Democracy (NLD) in a series of overnight raids at the end of January.

NLD official Zaw Myat Linn died in custody after he was arrested early on Tuesday, according to a member of the dissolved upper house of parliament. The official is the second party figure to die in detention in two days.

Daily protests against the coup are being staged across the country and security forces have cracked down harshly. More than 60 protesters have been killed and more than 1,800 arrested, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), an advocacy group, has said.

Overnight, police arrested about 50 people who had been cornered by security forces in a district of Myanmar’s main city Yangon, a human rights group said.

But hundreds managed to escape the encirclement after crowds of demonstrators rallied in their support in defiance of a night-time curfew. Western powers and the UN had called on the military to allow the protesters to leave the area in safety.

Khin Maung Latt, who had worked as a campaign manager for an NLD MP elected in 2020, died after he was arrested on Saturday night, Reuters reported.

The army has justified the coup by saying that a November election won by the NLD was marred by fraud – a claim rejected by the electoral commission. It has promised a new election, but has not said when that might be held.

The Independent has contacted the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for comment.

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