The EU hopes to send a mission to Myanmar to discuss the country’s upcoming elections with the junta, amid “serious concerns” that the rules are neither free nor fair, ministers said yesterday.
EU foreign ministers, meeting in Luxembourg, called on Myanmar’s military leaders “to cooperate fully” with Piero Fassino, its special envoy to the country.
The ministers expressed “serious concerns” at new Myanmar election laws published last month, which “do not provide for free and fair elections.”
The National League for Democracy (NLD), party of Myanmar’s detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, is boycotting this year’s legislative polls, the first for 20 years, as it would have been forced to oust its iconic leader and recognise the junta’s constitution if it had signed up.
“The EU believes that despite everything there is room for manoeuvre,” a European diplomat said.
“But we are only prepared to go there if we are received at the highest level. We are not prepared to be humiliated.”
The NLD risk being dissolved by the Myanmar junta if they do not take part in the polls, which are set to take place by the end of November.
Suu Kyi’s NLD were the main winners in the last elections in 1990, but the military junta, in power since 1962, refused to recognise those results.
Since then the Nobel Peace prize winner has spent much of the time under house arrest.
The United States has led international condemnation of the laws that Myanmar has enacted for the ballot.
Last month the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution expressing concern that election laws failed to include the necessary elements to guarantee an inclusive political process.
The EU foreign ministers reiterated a call for Suu Kyi’s release and said the country’s challenges “can only be addressed through genuine dialogue between all stakeholders, including the ethic groups and the opposition.”