The embassy of East Timor in Yangon, seen on August 27. (AFP)

Junta expels top East Timor diplomat for NUG meeting


Myanmar’s military regime on Sunday ordered the expulsion of East Timor’s top diplomat in the country over a meeting his government held with the parallel National Unity Government.

The junta has designated the NUG, which was appointed by lawmakers deposed by the 2021 military coup, as a “terrorist” organisation.

Last month, East Timor’s President Mr Jose Ramos-Horta met with NUG foreign minister Daw Zin Mar Aung in the capital Dili.

On Sunday, the junta’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the “irresponsible actions” of East Timor, ordering the country’s Charge d’Affaires in Yangon “to leave no later than 1 September 2023”.

The ministry said in a Facebook post that East Timor was “encouraging the terrorist group to further committing their violations in Myanmar”.

East Timor condemned the expulsion order, reiterating in a statement “the importance of supporting all efforts for the return of democratic order in Myanmar”.

Dili also urged the junta to “respect human rights and seek a peaceful and constructive solution to the crisis”.

East Timor is due to become the eleventh member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

However, Prime Minister Mr Xanana Gusmao said earlier this month the young democracy could reconsider its bid to join the ASEAN should the bloc fail to persuade Myanmar’s junta to end the conflict.

The grouping has made little progress since the coup in 2021, with the junta largely ignoring a five-point deal aimed at ending the violence.

ASEAN has also been divided over how to engage with the regime.

While the junta has been banned from high-level summits, ASEAN member Thailand has hosted informal talks with Myanmar’s foreign minister.

U Linn Thant, an NUG representative based in Prague in the Czech Republic, condemned the junta’s decision and told AFP that there was no justification for the expulsion of the Timor East diplomat.

The whereabouts of the diplomat is currently unclear.

More stories

Latest Issue

Stories in this issue
Myanmar enters 2021 with more friends than foes
The early delivery of vaccines is one of the many boons of the country’s geopolitics, but to really take advantage, Myanmar must bury the legacy of its isolationist past.
Will the Kayin BGF go quietly?
The Kayin State Border Guard Force has come under intense pressure from the Tatmadaw over its extensive, controversial business interests and there’s concern the ultimatum could trigger fresh hostilities in one of the country’s most war-torn areas.

Support our independent journalism and get exclusive behind-the-scenes content and analysis

Stay on top of Myanmar current affairs with our Daily Briefing and Media Monitor newsletters.

Sign up for our Frontier Fridays newsletter. It’s a free weekly round-up featuring the most important events shaping Myanmar