Russian Overseas Minister Sergey Lavrov has arrived in Myanmar on an official go to that Moscow mentioned will embody discussions with the army authorities on safety and financial points, the Russian information company TASS reported.
Russia is a key supporter and arms provider to Myanmar’s army authorities, which got here to energy in February final yr when it overthrew the elected authorities of Aung San Suu Kyi.
Lavrov met his counterpart, Wunna Maung Lwin, and different prime Myanmar officers shortly after his arrival within the capital, Naypyidaw, on Wednesday, Russia’s international ministry wrote on Twitter.
Lavrov gave no signal of any change to Moscow’s stance in the direction of the army authorities, which he described as a “pleasant and longstanding companion”, saying the 2 international locations “have a really stable basis for build up cooperation in a variety of areas”.
“We recognize the historically pleasant nature of our partnership, which isn’t affected by any opportunistic processes,” Lavrov mentioned, including that Russia and Myanmar are linked by many years of cooperation.
Western nations have ostracised Myanmar’s ruling generals and have imposed financial and political sanctions in opposition to them due to their takeover and violent repression of opposition.
Myanmar has been in a state of accelerating turmoil for the reason that military takeover final yr, and its army often carries out assaults on armed pro-democracy fighters and their supporters and ethnic minority armed teams which have lengthy battled for larger political autonomy.
United Nations specialists have described the nation as being in a civil battle.
High arms provider
Regardless of calls from many countries for an arms embargo on Naypyidaw, Russia stays Myanmar’s prime arms provider.
Russia and China, the ruling army’s different main ally, have been in a position to stymie coordinated worldwide sanctions due to the veto energy they maintain as members of the United Nations Safety Council.
Russian international ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova mentioned Lavrov’s go to will see each side talk about prospects for your complete complicated of Russia-Myanmar relations, together with political dialogue, commerce and financial cooperation, defence and safety, and humanitarian ties.
Al Jazeera’s Tony Cheng, reporting from Bangkok, mentioned Myanmar depends on Russia for provides of superior weaponry, together with fighter jets.
“Myanmar has additionally seen in Russia a vendor of arms and weapons, together with high-powered jets which it’s utilizing to battle in opposition to insurgents and rebels that oppose its rule, not solely within the border areas but in addition in central Myanmar,” Cheng mentioned.
“But it surely’s a tough time for Myanmar,” Cheng added, noting that international ministers from the Affiliation of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) nations are assembly within the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, the place statements recommend that the current execution of 4 political prisoners by army authorities in Myanmar has been seen as a rejection of an ASEAN peace plan designed “to try to convey Myanmar again into the fold”.
Myanmar’s absence from ASEAN
Lavrov’s go to to Myanmar, his first to the nation, comes forward of his attendance on the ASEAN summit in Cambodia.
Myanmar was requested to not ship any political consultant to ASEAN conferences in response to the violence that ensued after the February 2021 coup.
Protesting in opposition to the choice, Myanmar’s army authorities mentioned it might not ship any delegate in any respect. So it’s unrepresented on the talks in Phnom Penh and complicating efforts to push the nation to adjust to ASEAN’s five-point plan for peace, which it has largely been ignoring.
“ASEAN has to cope with challenges of various sorts and ranges however by no means earlier than, by no means like this yr, have we been confronted on the similar time with so many perils for the area and the world at giant,” Cambodia’s Overseas Minister Prak Sokhonn advised the delegates earlier than the assembly.
Cambodia presently holds the rotating chairmanship of ASEAN, which additionally consists of the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Laos, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Brunei along with Myanmar.