(Reuters) – The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) met Myanmar’s junta leader Min Aung Hlaing on Thursday and requested the resumption of ICRC prison visits and more humanitarian access to conflict areas, Nikkei Asia reported on Thursday.
The meeting with Peter Maurer was the first in Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw between the junta leader and such a senior international representative since the Feb. 1 coup in which he overthrew elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
The ICRC office in Myanmar did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Reuters was unable to contact a spokesman for the junta for comment.
The junta chief was “noncommittal” but he had not refused Maurer’s request, Nikkei said, citing people familiar with the meeting.
“Maurer also urged an end to violence against civilians and ‘respect for international law’ and medical workers during security operations by the junta’s security forces,” Nikkei said.
More than 840 people have been killed by security forces since the coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners activist group. Min Aung Hlaing has said the number is much lower.
The army has failed to assert control since the coup and faces daily protests, strikes that have paralysed the economy and many essential services and the resurgence of fighting with some of the two dozen ethnic armies in Myanmar’s borderlands.
(Writing by Matthew Tostevin; Editing by Ed Davies)