ASEAN ministers say they are ‘even more determined’ to resolve Myanmar crisis

ASEAN ministers say they are ‘even more determined’ to resolve Myanmar crisis


Southeast Asian foreign ministers said they were “even more determined” to resolve Myanmar’s political crisis during talks in Indonesia on Thursday ahead of November’s ASEAN summit.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military coup last February, but despite concerns expressed, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) efforts have yet to bear fruit.

But “ASEAN should not be discouraged, but even more determined to help Myanmar bring about a peaceful solution,” Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn said after the emergency meeting at the bloc’s secretariat in Jakarta.

Myanmar’s junta refused to send a non-political figure to the meeting.

According to a local observer, more than 2,300 people were killed in the Myanmar military’s brutal crackdown on dissidents after the coup.

The United States called for strong action at Thursday’s meeting.

Daniel Kritenbrink, the top US diplomat for East Asia, said at an event in Washington that the junta was leading “the complete destruction of all the gains of the last decade” when Myanmar transitioned to democracy.

“We will not stand by while this violence continues; we will not stand by as the junta prepares for the utterly bogus and bogus elections they are talking about next year.”

Kritenbrink said Washington has “great respect” for ASEAN, but US officials have in the past expressed frustration at the lack of progress on the bloc’s own contingency plan, which called for an end to violence, more aid and dialogue.

“I think all ASEAN countries need to hold the regime accountable,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in July.

“So far we haven’t seen any positive movement in that direction.”

ASEAN ministers on Thursday reaffirmed their commitment to this five-point plan, first proposed in April 2022.

“The situation on the ground remains critical and fragile, and this is not because of a lack of commitment and efforts on the part of ASEAN, but because of the complexity and difficulty of Myanmar’s decades-long conflicts,” he said.

“The time for action is now.”

Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing was not invited to next month’s ASEAN leadership summit in Cambodia – for the second time in a row – and Myanmar’s top diplomat Wunna Maung Lwin was barred from ministerial talks in February and August.

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