ASEAN meet may shun Myanmar junta chief

Southeast Asian countries are discussing not inviting the head of Myanmar's junta to a summit later this month, due to a lack of progress on an agreed roadmap to restore peace in the strife-torn country, a regional envoy said on Wednesday.

The junta’s inaction on a five-point plan it agreed in April with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was “tantamount to backtracking”, Erywan Yusof, the bloc's special envoy to Myanmar, told a news conference.

‘Deep in discussions’

Myanmar has been in turmoil since a February 1 coup led by military chief Min Aung Hlaing that ended a decade of tentative democracy and the return of military rule has prompted outrage at home and abroad.

Mr. Erywan, the second foreign minister of ASEAN chair Brunei, said the bloc was “deep in discussions” about not inviting the junta to participate in a virtual summit on October 26-28, after the issue was raised by Malaysia and other member countries. “Up until today there has been no progress on the implementation of the five-point consensus, and this has raised a concern,” Mr. Erywan said.

Myanmar junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun did not respond to calls on Wednesday. Last week he told a news conference that Myanmar was cooperating with ASEAN “without compromising the country’s sovereignty”.

The bloc's effort to engage with Myanmar’s military has been criticised by supporters of democracy, with a committee of ousted Myanmar lawmakers declaring the junta a terrorist group and saying ASEAN's engagement would give it legitimacy.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2021 5:40:38 PM |

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