Myanmar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Sunday that the Timorese Chargé d’Affaires had been told to leave Myanmar before September 1 over the diplomat’s alleged association with Myanmar’s government-in-exile. Timor-Leste’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation subsequently condemned the Myanmar military junta’s decision.
According to the Myanmar foreign ministry’s statement, the Timorese diplomat was expelled because of the Timor-Leste government’s contact and association with Myanmar’s government-in-exile, the National Unity Government (NUG), which the Myanmar junta labels a “terrorist organization” pursuant to the country’s Counter Terrorism Law. Myanmar also alleged that Timor-Leste’s conduct violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and hampered bilateral relations.
The Timorese government, on the other hand, condemned Myanmar’s expulsion order and reiterated that Timor-Leste was adhering to the positions taken by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United Nations for the restoration of democratic order and respect for human rights in Myanmar. Government minister Agio Pereira said, “[T]he Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste remains firm in its conviction that only through dialogue and respect for the will of the people can a peaceful and lasting solution to the crisis in Myanmar be achieved.”
Myanmar underwent a military coup in February 2021, sparking a wave of international condemnation and sanctions. The coup’s aftermath has reportedly displaced some 1.5 million people, causing a humanitarian crisis.