Junta Removes Foreign Minister, Deputy in Cabinet Reshuffle
covering burma and southeast asia
Friday, May 24, 2019

Junta Removes Foreign Minister, Deputy in Cabinet Reshuffle

By Aye Aye Win/AP Writer/Rangoon Sunday, September 19, 2004


Burma's military junta on Saturday dismissed four ministers in a Cabinet shuffle that included the exit of the foreign minister who was the most visible face and defender of the secretive ruling leadership.


Win Aung

As foreign minister, Win Aung also bore the brunt of Western anger and Asian colleagues' frustrations at international meetings over his government's refusal to free pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, currently under house arrest.


The junta seized power 16 years ago Saturday after crushing a pro-democracy movement that saw Suu Kyi rise to prominence.


In the shakeup Saturday, Win Aung and Deputy Foreign Minister Khin Maung Win were "permitted to retire," said an announcement on state radio and television. The phrase is a government euphemism for dismissing officials.


Also "permitted to retire" were Agriculture Minister Maj-Gen Nyunt Tin and Transport Minister Maj-Gen Hla Myint Swe. No reasons were given for the dismissals.


The announcement said Win Aung was replaced by Maj-Gen Nyan Win and Khin Maung Win by Col Maung Myint.


Win Aung's dismissal came two weeks before he was expected to attend the Oct 8-9 Asia-Europe Meeting, or ASEM, in Hanoi, Vietnam.


An Asian diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Win Aung was dismissed because had lost credibility after none of his promises came true, such as the numerous promises to dignitaries that Suu Kyi would be released soon.


The EU has given the junta until Oct 8 to release Suu Kyi or face further sanctions. It has already imposed a travel ban on the military leaders, and frozen their financial assets in Europe.

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