On 9 March, Vice-Admiral Hervé Bléjean, Director General of the EU Military Staff, had a phone conversation with Vice-Senior General Soe Win, Deputy Commander in Chief of the Myanmar military, to discuss the current situation in the country. This was the first contact with the military since the 1 February coup, which the EU condemns in the strongest terms.
Vice-Admiral Bléjean urged the military authorities to immediately stop all violence and to exercise utmost restraint in dealing with protests, to avoid further casualties and respect international law. He stressed that any further escalation must be avoided. He underlined that the role of any military should be to protect the population.
Vice-Admiral Bléjean insisted on the importance of restoring stability and democracy with legitimate civilian rule in Myanmar, including to avoid any further deterioration of the already difficult socio-economic situation in Myanmar. To this end, he urged the military authorities to release the democratically elected leadership of the country including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and U Win Myint, as well as all other political detainees, with a view to engaging in an inclusive political dialogue with all relevant stakeholders. Vice-Admiral Bléjean emphasised the particular importance of extending an invitation to UN Special Envoy Schraner Burgener to visit Myanmar as soon as possible, allowing her to consult the view of all parties concerned and facilitate a dialogue.