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Myanmar Crisis

Myanmar civilian envoy pleads with China and Russia to 'stop' junta

Exiled representative also says Japan must sanction military government

Dr. Sasa reminds Myanmar's diplomats that "they are not representing the military generals; they are representing the people of Myanmar."

TOKYO -- A representative of Myanmar's civilian government in exile on Friday called on other countries to halt arms sales and impose coordinated sanctions on the junta, warning of impending civil war and genocide.

"One phone call from Beijing, one phone call from Moscow can stop these military generals," said Dr. Sasa, an envoy of the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw. "That's what we are asking them to do before this bloodbath happens in the coming days."

The committee represents ousted National League for Democracy lawmakers who were unable to convene after the military coup on Feb. 1. Charged by the junta with treason, a capital offense, Sasa, who goes by one name, delivered his warning to the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan via video from an undisclosed location.

The military in recent days used SU-30 fighter jets supplied by Russia to conduct airstrikes in Karen State, near the Thai border, hitting villages and schools and killing civilians. In the past two-plus months, around 600 people have been killed and 3,000 detained.

"It is no longer a military coup," Sasa said. "It is a military operation against 54 million people in Myanmar."

Sasa asked all countries to cut off diplomatic ties and access to funding for weapons purchases. The U.S., Canada, U.K. and EU in March imposed sanctions on 11 military leaders. Myanmar's top sources of foreign investment, including China, Japan and neighboring Thailand, have declined to join the sanctions regime.

Asked if his group wants Japan to impose sanctions on the junta, Sasa said, "There is no other choice. Tell Japan to join [the sanctions regime]."

Sasa said his group has had discussions with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

"We will never talk to the military government unless they stop killing the people of Myanmar," Sasa said, demanding the release of detained civilian leaders and the restoration of the power those leaders held. "We are asking ASEAN to convince the military generals that these are the demands before we conduct dialogue."

Sasa laid out a new constitution for Myanmar and asked countries to recognize only the democratically elected government. The charter would eradicate the military dictatorship and nullify the 2008 constitution, which Sasa described "as written by military generals for military generals, not for the people."

It would also establish a federal democratic system with independent branches to replace the unitary assembly government. Sasa, a member of the Chin ethnic group, suggested a federal democracy would end the ethnic and regional strife that has plagued Myanmar for decades.

"We all have been fighting for our rights and freedoms for the last 72 years," he said. "Without federal democracy, the people of Myanmar will never have peace."

Sasa used the forum to deliver a message to Myanmar diplomats posted abroad. After criticizing the junta and calling for State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi's release, Myanmar's ambassador to the U.K. was reportedly locked out of the embassy by a military attache.

"They need to know who they are representing," Sasa said, directing his words to the diplomats. "They are not representing the military generals; they are representing the people of Myanmar."

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