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Guterres urges integrated action to stop devastation in Myanmar

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United Nations, Sep 30 (AP) The United Nations has called for integrated regional and international action to prevent the Myanmar crisis from turning into a massive conflict and a multi-faceted “catastrophe” at the heart of Southeast Asia.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Wednesday in a report presented to the General Assembly that it is extremely important that regional and international countries help put Myanmar back on the path of democratic reform.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michael Bachelet and rights groups said when the Myanmar military ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1, it claimed that his party had won the general election last November. There was fraud in that. Massive demonstrations erupted soon after the military coup, which was quelled by security forces, in which more than 1,100 people were killed.

The United Nations backed the five-point plan adopted by the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which includes the appointment of an ASEAN Special Envoy as a mediator and humanitarian assistance. In August, ASEAN appointed Brunei’s second foreign minister, Erivan Yusuf, as its special envoy.

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Guterres welcomed Yusuf’s appointment in the report, calling for “timely and comprehensive implementation of the five-point consensus for a peaceful solution”. “The threat of large-scale armed conflict requires a collective approach to prevent a multi-faceted catastrophe in the heart of Southeast Asia or beyond,” he said. There is a need for a coordinated approach to deal with the severe human impact, including rapidly deteriorating food security, large-scale displacement and a weakening public health system due to COVID-19.

The UN Secretary-General said it was imperative to restore constitutional order in Myanmar and uphold the November 2020 election results. He suggested that neighboring countries could put pressure on the military to “respect the will of the people and work in the larger interest of peace and stability in the country and the region”.

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