United Nations chief Antonio Guterres on Saturday urged Myanmar’s junta to immediately return to democracy, saying it is the only way to stop the “unending nightmare” engulfing Myanmar.
Myanmar has spiralled into a bloody conflict since the military ousted democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian government in February 2021, with thousands already killed.
The escalating crisis dominated a summit of the Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean), which has led so far fruitless diplomatic efforts to end the bloodshed.
“The situation in Myanmar is an unending nightmare for the people and a threat to peace and security across the region,” Guterres told reporters.
“I urge the authorities of Myanmar to listen to their people, release political prisoners and get the democratic transition back on track immediately,” he said. “That is the only way to stability and peace.”
After meeting Asean leaders, Guterres said it was vital that a peace plan agreed with the junta – but so far not enforced – came into effect.
Junta troops have been accused of killing and arson sprees in central, northern and eastern Myanmar, as they struggle to crush opposition to military rule.
The junta has previously accused “terrorist” anti-coup fighters of setting the fires.