Through The Irrawaddy October 5, 2021
Expressing the frustration of ASEAN members, the Malaysian foreign minister warned that Myanmar’s military regime leader could be excluded from a regional summit scheduled for later this month due to the junta’s failure to cooperate with the efforts of the regional bloc to resolve the country’s crisis.
ASEAN member Myanmar has been beset by social and political unrest since a military coup in February, which was followed by bloody crackdowns on anti-regime protesters. The international community had pushed the diplomatic efforts of a special envoy appointed by ASEAN.
As soon as the regional grouping’s foreign ministers’ meeting ended on Monday, member countries joined in a chorus of disappointment at the foot dragged by Myanmar’s military leaders.
According to an announcement by Myanmar’s Foreign Ministry, during the meeting, the regime’s Foreign Minister U Wunna Maung Lwin discussed the ongoing negotiations on a proposed visit to the country by the special envoy of the regime. ‘ASEAN Erywan Yusof, who seeks to meet with all stakeholders. Brunei’s second foreign minister, Yusof was appointed as a envoy in August, but the regime has yet to approve his visit.
According to most other accounts, however, Monday’s meeting did not go well.
After the meeting, Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah tweeted that he said during the meeting that ASEAN members were disappointed that Myanmar authorities did not cooperate with the special envoy. and warned Myanmar could be excluded from this month’s summit if there was no progress.
“If there is no progress, it would be difficult to have the president of the SAC at the ASEAN summit (26-28 October 21),” he said, referring to the coup leader. of State Min Aung Hlaing. The SAC, or State Administration Council, is a governing body set up by the junta.
The leader of the Burmese junta is desperate to attend the next summit, according to diplomats in Yangon. He seeks to show that the junta has legitimacy and wants to take advantage of its appearance at the meeting as a sign of “acceptance” on the part of the regional grouping.
In addition, Myanmar is rapidly sliding into a failed state; the country is in chaos and the regime still cannot fully control the country since the military staged an illegitimate coup in February.
In a press conference after Monday’s meeting, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi expressed a view similar to that of his Malaysian counterpart, saying there has been no significant progress in Myanmar and that “most of the members expressed their disappointment”.
“The military has not given a positive response to what was attempted by the special envoy,” she said, according to Reuters.
Yusof said as an envoy he called for full access to all parties, including detained and ousted leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and other officials held by the military when it took power. .
Instead of a meeting with the detained state councilor, however, Yusof was offered a meeting with former vice president Henry Van Thio and former lower house speaker T Khun Myat, officials said. sources in Myanmar.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, 76, is junta-held at an unknown location in Myanmar’s capital Naypyitaw. She faces a plethora of charges, including breach of COVID-19 regulations, sedition, illegal possession of walkie-talkies and numerous counts of corruption.
ASEAN diplomats familiar with the Myanmar issue said regime leaders still believed they could use the regional grouping to gain legitimacy.
Myanmar security personnel used force in an attempt to quell the peaceful protests and mass disobedience movement that emerged in the aftermath of the coup, killing more than 1,100 people, according to the Association of assistance to political prisoners, a human rights group that has been monitoring the situation. Daily clashes, bombings and killings targeting regime troops have taken place in Myanmar since late March.
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