The Australian government has refused the appointment of a Burmese general as ambassador to Australia because of the brutality of the military regime.

The decision to reject the appointment was made around two months ago, but was not made public at the time. Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer gave his reasons for the refusal at a media conference on 2 October.

“Burma has a very brutal military regime and I refused to accept a general from that regime, who has had command in a couple of provinces in Burma over the years,” said Mr Downer.

The Minister said that a civilian and “professional diplomat” should be sent as a representative.

“We will not be accepting anybody from the military regime in Burma as a representative of Burma in Australia. That is completely unacceptable,” he said.

Mr Downer went on to express his concerns about the recent brutal crackdowns on protestors, citing estimates of at least 30 deaths and 1,400 arrests.