UK Commends Burmese Ambassador for Defying Junta

March 8, 2021 Updated: March 8, 2021

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab commended Burma’s ambassador to London for his “courage and patriotism” after the envoy openly called for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other political leaders detained by the junta.

Burma’s military seized power on Feb. 1 and arrested leaders of the civilian government, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint.

In a defiant statement published on Monday on the Burmese embassy website, the country’s ambassador to the UK, Kyaw Zwar Minn, said he continues to follow instructions from Aung San Suu Kyi.

“The answer to the current crisis can only be at the negotiating table,” he said. “We request the release of State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint.”

The ambassador said he had discussed the situation in Burma (also known as Myanmar) with Raab and Britain’s minister for Asia, Nigel Adams.

Burma riot police
Riot police officers fire teargas canisters during a protest against the military coup in Yangon, Burma, on Feb. 28, 2021. (Stringer via Reuters)

In reaction, Raab said: “I commend the courage and patriotism of Myanmar Ambassador Kyaw Zwar Minn in calling for Aung Sung Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint to be released and for the results of the 2020 election to be respected.”

“The military regime must end their brutal crackdown, and restore democracy,” he said in a statement.

Kyaw Zwar Minn is not the only Burmese diplomat to openly defy the junta.

Burma’s U.N. Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun appealed to the United Nations on Feb. 27 “to use any means necessary to take action against the Myanmar military” to restore democracy.

He was sacked by the junta, but in letters to the U.N. General Assembly president Volkan Bozkir and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Kyaw Moe Tun said he remains Burma’s U.N. ambassador.

The military regime’s violent crackdown has left more than 50 protesters dead. At least 18 people were fatally shot Feb. 28 and 38 on March 3, according to the U.N. Human Rights Office.

At least three people were shot dead on Monday.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.