Ousted Myanmar ambassador to UK urges international help

[LONDON] Myanmar's ambassador to Britain, ousted from his London embassy, on Thursday called for the international community to help his country after the UK confirmed it could no longer recognise him.

"Please assist our country and help our country as without international assistance we will not be able to get out of this mess," Kyaw Zwar Minn told reporters outside the central London embassy.

Daily protests in Myanmar demanding a return of democracy following a February military coup have rocked the country and brought a brutal response from the armed forces, with almost 600 civilians killed according to a local monitoring group.

Kyaw Zwar Minn raised the prospect he could die if he returned to Myanmar. Asked if thought he would be killed if went back as military leadership has requested, he said: "Who knows?".

Britain confirmed on Thursday that it could no longer recognise Myanmar's ambassador in London, after the ruling junta issued formal notification that he had been withdrawn for supporting the deposed government.

UK sources said the government, in line with diplomatic policy, had to accede to the junta's decision regarding Kyaw Zwar Minn, after he was locked out of the embassy on Wednesday.

Kyaw Zwar Minn, a former colonel of 30 years standing in the military, spoke ahead of a meeting at Britain's foreign ministry at 1:00pm (1200 GMT), and characterised the move by the UK not to recognise him "a British decision, not mine." He also said he was in no doubt that the military junta in Myanmar would regard him as a traitor because of his condemnation of the recent coup. He added he had not been in contact with arrested civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi following his removal.

Diplomats loyal to Myanmar military authorities appeared to have seized control of the embassy in London, leaving the ambassador out in the street and forcing him to sleep in his car overnight, as anti-junta protesters demonstrated.

In a statement read out earlier on Thursday on behalf of the ambassador by Min Hein, a member of the Myanmar community in London said the ousted envoy's defence attache, Chit Win, had taken over the mission in "a kind of coup", two months after the military seized power in Myanmar "We have also learned that Chit Win's team are threatening the embassy staff with severe punishment if those staff do not continue to work for the military junta," Mr Min Hein added.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab had earlier Thursday condemned "bullying" by Myanmar's junta and reiterated calls for the release of Ms Suu Kyi.

"We condemn the bullying actions of the Myanmar military regime in London yesterday, and I pay tribute to Kyaw Zwar Minn for his courage," Mr Raab said on Twitter.

"The UK continues to call for an end to the coup and the appalling violence, and a swift restoration of democracy."



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