Myanmar government in exile opens office in Canberra

Members of Australia’s Burmese community have gathered in the capital to open representative offices of their country’s shadow civilian government.
In May 2021, the National Unity Government (NUG) was formed, made up of the displaced political leaders of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy and other opponents of the military regime.

On Wednesday night, the NUG opened a representative office in Canberra, less than two kilometers from Myanmar’s official embassy.

Dr Tun Aung Shwe, NUG’s Australian representative, said this was a momentous occasion.
“This is really important,” Dr. Xue told SBS News.

“Australia is a really important country to Myanmar. Since the 2011 revolution, Australia has been one of Myanmar’s earliest diplomatic ties.”

Australia’s National Unity Government representative Dr Tun Aung Shwe (center) and Labor MP Peter Khalil at the opening of the embassy. credit: Michelle Haywood Photography

But Australia’s diplomatic relations with Australia have come under increasing scrutiny since the democratically elected government of Ms Suu Kyi was sacked 18 months ago.

Among those present at the opening ceremony in Canberra included a number of Australian MPs across political divisions.

Green Party foreign affairs spokesman Jordon Steele-John called on the Australian government to recognize the NUG as Myanmar’s legitimate government.

“This is a major step forward in the history of Myanmar’s democracy and what is needed now is for the government and the Liberal Party to follow the lead of the Green Party to recognize the NUG as Myanmar’s legitimate government and change the language of solidarity to Action. Senator Steele John told SBS News at the ceremony.

Senator Jordan Steele-John of the Green Party attended the opening ceremony of the embassy.

Green Party Senator Jordon Steele-John tells SBS News at the opening ceremony of the National Unity Government Embassy. credit: Michelle Haywood Photography

The Australian government has said it recognizes the state, not the government.

But a spokesperson for Foreign Minister Penny Wong said “the minister will continue to engage with NUG representatives” and that Australia’s involvement with the military government would “necessarily be limited”.

The foreign minister issued a statement last week condemning the execution of four pro-democracy activists in the country.

Simon Birmingham, the opposition diplomatic spokesman, echoed Senator Wong’s sentiments, who are in Cambodia for talks with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
“I am certain that Minister Wong will work with his ASEAN counterparts to put maximum pressure on the Myanmar regime in terms of halting such executions and addressing the many sensitive issues we have. I hope to do it,” he said.

Among the Burmese-Australians at the NUG office on Wednesday was Tayzar Myint, who traveled from Adelaide to attend the ceremony.

Burmese-Australian Taizamin.

Tayzar Myint traveled from Adelaide to attend a ceremony at the new Embassy. sauce: SBS News

Myint said he grew up in a rebel camp under military rule during the dictatorship of the 1980s.

The 2021 coup brought him those memories.
“When I first saw it, when it happened, I was shocked,” he told SBS News.
“I had sleepless nights, and even when I was working, my head was there and I couldn’t function.”

But for Mr. Myint and many others like him who attended the ceremony, the representative office brought new hope.

Myanmar government in exile opens office in Canberra

Source link Myanmar government in exile opens office in Canberra

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