US State Department counsellor Derek Chollet cast doubt over the junta’s pledge to hold new elections in August 2023.
“I think there’s no chance it could be free and fair, and it can be an attempt to just manipulate the region, the international community,” Chollet told the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.
Almost 2,000 civilians have been killed in the junta’s crackdown on dissent and more than 14,000 people have been arrested.
United Nations special envoy for Myanmar Noeleen Heyzer. Who has not been allowed to visit the country since she took up the role late last year. She fears an illegitimate poll could cause further unrest.
She said unless Myanmar citizens had faith the election would lead the country back to “proper civilian rule.” And the will of the people would be respected, it could be a “trigger point for greater violence”.
Thai foreign ministry representative Pornpimol Kanchanalak however argued the international community should not get “stuck in cancel rhetoric”.
“Condemnations, sanctions, ostracization have reached diminishing returns,” she said.
Pornpimol acknowledged concerns about the upcoming poll. However said the international community must take junta’s commitment to hold elections “at face value”.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations — a bloc of 10 countries including Myanmar — has led stalled diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis.
Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah urged ASEAN countries go back to the drawing board. To set deadlines on the “Five-Point Consensus” reached in Jakarta in April 2021. Which calls for a cessation of violence and “constructive dialogue”.
He said there had been no discussions about booting Myanmar out of the bloc.
Post-coup violence has pushed the number of displaced people in Myanmar to more than one million for the first time. The UN said in early June. Voicing concerns about a lack of humanitarian assistance as well as the monsoon season.