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27 February 2024

Myanmar going 'downhill on all fronts', says US

By Agencies

Myanmar is going "downhill on all fronts", a senior US diplomat said during a visit to Vietnam Monday, urging regional neighbours to pressure the junta running the country formerly called Burma.

"The regime in Burma is absolutely refusing to take any positive steps at all, either in response to its own people or to the international community," said US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Scot Marciel.

"It should be a cause of concern for everybody because the way Burma is going under this regime and its policies is sort of downhill on all fronts," he told a media briefing during a Hanoi stop on a regional tour.

"We talk about it mostly in terms of human rights and democracy and that's critically important to us, but it's beyond that," he said. "The economy is going downhill, the education system is getting ruined.

"The health care system isn't functioning... you're getting more and more cases of resistant strains of tuberculosis and malaria out of Burma. You've got refugee flows out of Burma. It's just a whole series of problems."

Myanmar faces mounting pressure for democratic reform after its crackdown on peaceful protests led by Buddhist monks last September triggered widespread international outrage and tighter Western sanctions.

The United Nations says at least 31 people were killed during the suppression, and 74 remain missing. (AFP)