CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – Australia has suspended its defense cooperation with Myanmar, redirecting humanitarian aid to the government over the ongoing detention of an Australian citizen.
Secretary of State Maris Payne said on Monday that Australian diplomats and relatives had only been able to contact economic policy adviser Sean Turnel twice by phone since his arrest in early February. He described the entry as “very limited consular assistance”.
“We believe that Professor Ternel was arbitrarily detained along with high-ranking members of the Myanmar government, including State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, including the President,” Payne told reporters.
“We do not accept the conditions of his detention and the reasons for his detention. We seek a return to democracy. We call for an end to all armed violence against unarmed civilians. “And in everything we do, we seek the release of Professor Ternell,” he added.
Australia announced late Sunday night that it had suspended its defense training program with Myanmar, which is worth about A $ 1.5 million ($ 1.2 million), for five years. The program was limited to non-combat areas, such as English language training.
Australian humanitarian aid will be directed to the Government of Myanmar, a government-affiliated entity. Instead, it will focus on the immediate humanitarian needs of Myanmar’s most vulnerable, impoverished population, including the Rohingya’s other ethnic minorities.
“One of the things I do not want Australia to do is fine the people of Myanmar,” Payne said.
Australia has previously imposed sanctions, including an arms embargo on five members of Myanmar’s armed forces. These sanctions will continue to be reviewed, Payne said.
Ternel was arrested a few weeks after arriving from Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, to work as an adviser to Suu Kyi’s government.
Turnell’s Australian friend փորձագետ Myanmar expert Monique Skidmore called Australia ‘s response to the February 1 military coup belatedly և “very mild”.
“The reality is that they have enough money, they have enough weapons, they have enough trade partners with China. “They do not need the West,” said Skidmore.
“I think we are going softer at the moment than otherwise until Sean returns to Australia,” he added.