Myanmar’s unity government demands invite to join a special ASEAN summit on coup discussion

Myanmar’s shadow government urged Southeast Asian leaders to give it a seat at the table during crisis talks next week, and not to recognise the military rulers that seized power in a February coup.

Military government leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing is expected to join a special ASEAN summit on Myanmar on Saturday in Jakarta, Indonesia his first official overseas trip since the coup that overthrew civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Moe Zaw Oo, deputy minister of foreign affairs for the parallel “national unity government” – formed on Friday by overthrown politicians mostly from Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, as well as ethnic-minority politicians – said ASEAN had not reached out to them.

“If ASEAN wants to help solve the Myanmar situation, they are not going to achieve anything without consulting and negotiating with the NUG, which is supported by the people and has full legitimacy,” he told Voice of America on Sunday.

“It’s important that this military council is not recognised. This needs to be handled carefully.”

On Saturday, Thai foreign ministry spokesman Tanee Sangrat said several leaders of the 10 ASEAN countries, including Min Aung Hlaing, had confirmed they would attend the April 24 meeting in Jakarta.

The military strongman’s invitation has drawn scorn from activists who have urged foreign leaders not to formally recognise the military government.

The Southeast Asian nation has been in upheaval since the coup on February 1.

Security forces have killed at least 730 pro-democracy protesters, according to an activist group, in an attempt to crush nationwide anti-coup protests.