ASEAN ‘disappointed’ with Myanmar military’s peace commitment

Indonesia FM says country’s military rulers have made no significant progress in implementing the bloc’s peace road map.

At a meeting on Monday, most foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) expressed disappointment at Myanmar and would need to relay that message to their country’s leaders, Retno Marsudi told a news conference.

She said ASEAN had offered to help stop the situation from worsening in Myanmar, which has been rocked by months of turmoil since a coup in February, but its envoy had cited challenges with access to all parties in the country.

Also on Monday, Malaysia’s foreign minister warned Myanmar may be excluded from this month’s ASEAN leader’s summit if it refuses to cooperate with the bloc’s special envoy in resolving the military-ruled country’s deepening crisis.

The bloc picked Brunei’s Second Foreign Minister Erywan Yusof in August as their special envoy and mediator following the military takeover.

He is reportedly still negotiating with Myanmar’s military on the terms of a visit.

Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said he expressed disappointment that Myanmar’s authorities have not cooperated with Yusof.

“Unless there is progress, it would be difficult to have” Myanmar’s military leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing at the ASEAN summit later this month, he tweeted.

Last month, Yusof said he is seeking full access to all parties, including Aung San Suu Kyi, and other officials detained since the February 1 coup.

In a report last week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the opportunity to prevent the army from entrenching its rule could be narrowing.

He welcomed Yusof’s appointment but with ASEAN’s slow progress, he called for unified regional and international action to prevent the crisis from becoming a large-scale conflict and multi-faceted “catastrophe” in Southeast Asia and beyond.

Myanmar’s military government claimed with scant evidence that the general election Aung Sun Suu Kyi’s party won last November in a landslide was marred by widespread fraud.

Security forces then used deadly force to try to quash peaceful protests, killing more than 1,100 people, according to the detailed tallies of the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners and human rights groups.

Opponents of military rule have turned to armed self-defence, sabotage and killings of soldiers and officials on a near-daily basis.

The military leader has pledged to hold fresh elections in two years and cooperate with ASEAN on finding a political solution.


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