Myanmar Generals Banned from ASEAN Until Peace Plan Advances | ASEAN News

The foreign ministers express their disappointment at the failure of the military administration to implement the crisis plan agreed in April 2021.

Foreign ministers of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have agreed to exclude Myanmar’s ruling generals from the group’s meetings until they advance a 15-month plan to address the crisis triggered by the military coup. .

Speaking at a news conference at the end of a series of ASEAN regional meetings in Phnom Penh, Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn, who is also special envoy to Myanmar, said the generals “must act in a way that show progress, then we’ll be able to act on a decision to show progress.”

On Friday, the foreign ministers condemned the lack of progress in the so-called five point consensus that was agreed with army chief and coup leader General-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing in April 2021, and he demanded that the self-proclaimed State Administration Council (SAC) take steps to comply with the plan before a regional summit in November.

The ministers said they were “deeply disappointed by the limited progress and lack of commitment by the Naypyidaw authorities to the timely and full implementation of the Five Point Consensus.”

And in a veiled warning to Myanmar’s military authorities, the statement, which references Article 20 of the ASEAN Charter, noted that the leaders’ meeting later this year could still take action on the “non-compliance”.

Myanmar was plunged into crisis when the army arrested elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior officials in February 2021 and seized power.

The coup provoked a massive movement of civil disobedience, protests throughout the country and the formation of anti-coup armed groups to which the military has responded with brutal force.

Some 2,158 people have been killed by the armed forces since the coup, and anger has grown over the generals’ intransigence, particularly after last month’s execution of four political prisoners.

Military rejects statement

In a Foreign Ministry statement published on the front page of Myanmar’s state-run Global New Light newspaper on Saturday, the military said it rejected the ASEAN statement and would continue to follow its own “five-point plan,” which was printed alongside to the statement on the front page of the newspaper.

“Myanmar believes that ASEAN can maintain its long-term unity and centrality only if all ASEAN member states abide by the provisions and basic principles of the ASEAN Charter, especially equality, inclusiveness, sovereignty and non-discrimination. interference in the internal affairs of ASEAN members. United States,” she said.

Army-appointed foreign minister Wunna Maung Lwin was not invited to Phnom Penh and did not participate in a foreign ministers’ retreat in February, while Min Aung Hlaing was snubbed at last year’s leaders’ summit.

ASEAN foreign ministers also condemned last month executions by Phyo Zeya Thaw, a rapper-turned-politician who was a member of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party, and veteran political activist Kyaw Min Yu, popularly known as Ko Jimmy.

Malaysia has been leading calls for a tougher approach to Myanmar’s military administration, and has also called for the group to commit to the National Unity Government (NUG) established by elected politicians who were removed from power by generals.

The Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore have also pushed for a firmer line.

The Five Point Consensus called for an immediate end to the violence, the appointment of a special envoy and discussions involving all interested parties. ASEAN’s statement on Friday stressed that the envoy should be allowed to meet “all relevant stakeholders.”

The SAC did not allow ASEAN’s first envoy, the Foreign Minister of Brunei, to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi, nor has it allowed Prak Sokhonn to do so.

The Nobel laureate was jailed after a closed-door trial and faces a series of charges that could land her behind bars for years.

Myanmar joined ASEAN in 1997 under a previous military regime.

The SAC has sought to frame those who oppose its seizure of power as “terrorists”.

The United Nations says hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes as a result of military attacks, while human rights experts have accused the military of war crimes for attacks on civilians.

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