Myanmar leader says ASEAN blind to opposition's violence

Myanmar ASEAN

BANGKOK (AP) — The leader of Myanmar’s military-installed government said Monday that other Southeast Asian countries should share responsibility for failing to help quell the violence that has engulfed his nation since the army seized power in February.

Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing in a speech broadcast on state television blamed groups that were organized to oppose the military takeover for the ongoing deadly unrest. He suggested that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations had failed to recognize the responsibility of opposition groups for the violence and said his government was seeking to restore peace and stability.

Opposition to military rule initially took the form of nonviolent protests, but escalated to armed self-defense after security forces used deadly force to disperse demonstrations. A detailed accounting by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners blames security forces for the killings of almost 1,200 civilians. The government now faces a growing insurgency in many parts of the country.

Min Aung Hlaing was commenting on ASEAN's decision on Friday to invite a non-political representative from Myanmar instead of a member of its ruling council to the bloc's summit meeting later this month.

The virtually unprecedented rebuke of one of its 10 members came after ASEAN’s special envoy to Myanmar, Brunei Second Foreign Minister Erywan Yusof, abruptly canceled a long-delayed visit when he was told he would not be able to meet with ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi and others as he had requested.

Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy party was set to begin a second five-year term in office after winning last year&