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Myanmar’s ex-UK envoy says military attaché has ‘occupied’ embassy

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Myanmar’s ex-ambassador in London spent Wednesday night in his car after saying he was locked out of his embassy.

Kyaw Zwar Minn said staff were asked to leave the building by Myanmar’s military attaché, and he was dismissed as the country’s representative.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has condemned the “bullying actions,” but the UK has accepted the change.

Myanmar’s military seized power in a coup on 1 February, sparking protests and escalating violence.

Kyaw Zwar Minn has criticised the military coup, and called for Myanmar’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi to be released.

About 600 people – including dozens of children – have been killed so far as pro-democracy protesters demand a return to power of elected leader Ms Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party.

Through a spokesman out the front of the embassy on Thursday morning, Kyaw Zwar Minn urged the UK government not to recognise the military junta’s newly appointed ambassador, and to send them back to Myanmar.

“There was a coup in Myanmar in February. Now there is the same situation in central London,” he said, adding embassy staff were being threatened with “severe punishment if they don’t continue to work for the military general”.

Police were reportedly called to stop staff re-entering the building. Protesters gathered outside after news spread that the ambassador had been locked out.

According to the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, an ambassador’s job officially ends once the host country has been informed.

The Foreign Office confirmed it received the notification, and that it “must accept the decision taken by the Myanmar regime”.

Deputy ambassador Chit Win is said to have taken over as chargé d’affaires in London, Reuters reported, citing diplomats with knowledge of the matter. However, the Foreign Office said it has “received no formal notification of his replacement”.

A chargé d’affaires serves as the head of a diplomatic mission in the absence of an ambassador.

In March, Kyaw Zwar Minn called for the release of Ms Suu Kyi and told the BBC that Myanmar was “divided” and could be at risk of civil war.

He maintained that his remarks were not “betraying the country”, adding that he was standing on “middle” ground. In response, the Myanmar government issued a statement saying he had been summoned home, but he stayed in London.

“He’s trying to work in the middle ground but there is no doubt which is the right side,” the spokesman for Kyaw Zwar Minn said.

Source: BBC

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