UNITED NATIONS, May 31 (AFP) - The United Nations special envoy for Myanmar will step down in June, a spokesman for the UN chief told AFP Wednesday (May 31), after an 18-month tenure in which she was criticised by the junta and its opponents.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military seized power in February 2021, ending a brief democratic experiment and sparking clashes with ethnic rebel groups and anti-coup fighters.

Diplomatic efforts led by the UN and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc to resolve the crisis have so far failed to stem the bloodshed unleashed by the coup.

Noeleen Heyzer, who was named envoy by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in October 2021, "will conclude her assignment on Jun 12" when her contract ends, Stephane Dujarric said.

Guterres "is thankful to Ms. Heyzer for her tireless efforts on behalf of peace and the people of Myanmar," the spokesman said, adding a new envoy would be appointed.

Heyzer, a Singaporean sociologist, was tasked with urging the Myanmar junta to engage in political dialogue with its opponents and end a bloody crackdown it launched after toppling the government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

She visited the Southeast Asian nation last August and met junta chief Min Aung Hlaing and other top military officials in a move criticised by rights groups as lending legitimacy to the generals.

But she was denied a meeting with detained democracy figurehead Aung San Suu Kyi and later irked junta officials who accused her of issuing a "one-sided statement" of what had been discussed.

She later vowed not to visit the country again unless she was allowed to meet Suu Kyi, who has since been jailed for a total of 33 years by a closed-door junta court.