East Timor condemns Myanmar's expulsion of top diplomat

A Catholic faithful waves a Myanmar flag as Pope Francis arrives to lead a mass at Kyite Ka San Football Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Myanmar's military government has ordered East Timor's top diplomat to leave the country, the government of East Timor - a vocal critic of Myanmar's leadership - said in a statement condemning the rare action.

Myanmar's government, which assumed power in a coup in 2021, has not made any announcement on the matter and a spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

East Timor "reiterates the importance of supporting all efforts for the return of democratic order in Myanmar and expresses its solidarity with the people of Myanmar, while urging the Military Junta to respect human rights and seek a peaceful and constructive solution to the crisis," its government said late on Saturday.

East Timor politicians have been outspoken critics of Myanmar's military government and President Jose Ramos-Horta has met with a top representative from Myanmar's shadow National Unity Government (NUG), which opposes military rule.

The country's charge d'affaires must leave Myanmar by Sept. 1, NUG human rights minister Aung Myo Min said on Facebook.

In protest against the 2021 coup, many countries have charges d'affaires in Myanmar instead of ambassadors. Still, the ruling military rarely expels or refuses diplomats.

The Southeast Asian country has been racked by violence and economic turmoil since the military seized power and launched a violent crackdown on opponents, some of whom fled overseas to form a government-in-exile.

(Reporting by Reuters staff; Editing by Christopher Cushing)