Cambodia’s Hun Sen asks Myanmar junta for Suu Kyi talks

Myanmar’s military regime has so far refused to allow almost any dialogue between the ousted, captive civilian leader and foreign officials, including ASEAN representatives

Phnom Penh – Cambodia’s former leader Hun Sen said Tuesday he has asked the head of Myanmar’s junta for a video meeting with jailed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Hun Sen, who ruled Cambodia for nearly four decades before stepping down last year, held video talks Tuesday with Min Aung Hlaing as the Myanmar military struggles to quell widespread resistance to its rule.

Nobel laureate Suu Kyi is serving a 27-year sentence imposed by a junta court after a trial condemned by rights groups as a sham to shut her out of politics.

A post on Hun Sen’s Facebook page said the veteran leader used the call to “again request Min Aung Hlaing to consider organising a video meeting between him and Aung San Suu Kyi with the aim of saying hello to her”.

The 78-year-old has largely been hidden from view since being detained when the generals seized power, and any meeting with Hun Sen would be a significant step.

Since her detention in February 2021, her only known encounter with a foreign envoy came in July last year, when the then Thai foreign minister Don Pramudwinai said he had met her for over an hour.

Hun Sen, now serving as the head of Cambodia’s senate, was the first foreign leader to visit Myanmar after the coup, travelling there in 2022.

Min Aung Hlaing pledged to consider the request to speak to Suu Kyi “with the highest attention”, Hun Sen’s Facebook post said.

Up to now, the junta has rebuffed numerous requests by foreign leaders and diplomats to meet Suu Kyi, including from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) regional bloc.

ASEAN has spearheaded efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the escalating conflict in Myanmar, with little success.

More than 4,900 people have been killed in the military’s crackdown on dissent since its coup and more than 26,000 others arrested, according to a local monitoring group.

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