Former US Diplomat Visits Myanmar for Humanitarian Mission

Former US Ambassador to the U.N. Bill Richardson met with Myanmar’s Junta leader on Tuesday.

Richardson’s visit to Myanmar was announced on Sunday by his office, saying he is “visiting the country to discuss pathways for the humanitarian delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, medical supplies, and other public health needs.”

The State Department confirmed that Richardson made the trip on his own, but it hoped he could help convince Myanmar leaders to allow entry of aid for the coronavirus pandemic and other urgent needs.

The US government has avoided sending officials to Myanmar because it does not want to recognize the legitimacy of the military’s seizure of power, Voice of America News reported.

“While this is not an effort sponsored by, or on behalf of, the United States government, we hope his trip contributes to improved humanitarian access,” it said in a statement.

Speculations of his visit included a request for the release of American journalist Danny Fenster who has been jailed in Myanmar for the past five months for allegedly spreading false or inflammatory information, an offense punishable by up to three years in prison.

The military has not released any official statement about Richardson’s visit.

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