Myanmar Junta Rejects ASEAN Envoy’s Request to Meet Opposition Figures – The Diplomat


ASEAN Beat | Diplomacy | Southeast Asia

The navy administration says that the Nationwide Unity Authorities and its allies are “terrorist organizations.”

International ministers from the Affiliation of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) participate within the bloc’s annual International Ministers’ Retreat in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on February 17, 2022.

Credit score: Ministry of International Affairs of Cambodia

Myanmar’s navy junta has flatly rejected the request of an Affiliation of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) envoy to fulfill with representatives of the opposition shadow authorities, pointing to its personal designation of the latter as a “terrorist” group.

Finally week’s ASEAN International Ministers’ Retreat, Cambodian International Minister Prak Sokhonn, the bloc’s present particular envoy to Myanmar, stated that he deliberate to go to the nation subsequent month to fulfill with prime junta officers. With Malaysia’s backing, Sokhonn stated he was additionally looking for permission to fulfill with representatives of the Nationwide Unity Authorities (NUG), lots of whom are members of the civilian administration that the navy overthrew in February of final 12 months.

In response to the ASEAN international ministers’ assembly, from which Myanmar’s navy administration was excluded because of its foot-dragging on the implementation of ASEAN’s 5-Level Consensus peace plan, the junta’s International Ministry issued a assertion late yesterday night. The assertion asserted that it will “promote constructive cooperation with ASEAN, together with with the particular envoy.” However this was closely caveated by the declaration that it will cease in need of permitting the envoy to have interaction with “illegal associations and terrorist teams” that have been “perpetrating violence.”

In Could, the navy declared that the NUG and the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, a gaggle of elected parliamentarians that appointed it, to be “terrorist organizations,” and has since used the entire coercive instruments at its disposal to eradicate their resistance to navy rule. The hassle has now price the lives of no less than 1,560 folks, and mired the nation in a violent wrestle with no obvious finish.

For the envoy to have interaction with these resistance teams, the International Ministry assertion asserted, can be “opposite to the ideas of the ASEAN constitution but additionally undermines ASEAN’s counterterrorism efforts.” The assertion concluded by urging “the 2 members [presumably, Cambodia and Malaysia] to not use ASEAN platforms to make such feedback” and inspiring them as a substitute to “condemn the terrorist acts” carried out by these forces.

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Earlier this month, Cambodian officers stated that the junta would allow Sokhonn to fulfill with members of the ousted civilian authorities on a future journey to the nation. However as I famous on the time, there have been all the time good causes to imagine that any entry can be extremely conditional and cease in need of involving anybody with significant function within the resistance. Certainly, it’s seemingly that the junta will solely be keen to grant entry to a handful of what it phrases “reasonable” NLD officers, whereas proscribing any contact with the “hardliners” populating the NUG and allied organizations.

The truth that the junta is promising “constructive cooperation” whereas blocking the ASEAN envoy from assembly with the NUG – a request that’s in step with each the letter and spirit of the 5-Level Consensus – tells us fairly clearly what it thinks about ASEAN’s proposed peace plan. Certainly, when Cambodia introduced that the junta would solely have the ability to ship a “non-political” consultant to the ASEAN International Ministers’ Retreat, it condemned the choice and declined to participate in any respect.

Each of those actions present, if any addition proof have been wanted, simply how little concern the navy junta has for the opinion of its ASEAN friends. It additionally means that the exclusion of the Tatmadaw from political participation in ASEAN, and potential larger isolation from its Southeast Asian neighbors, are costs that it’s keen to pay to make sure the consolidation of its maintain on energy.

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