Jakarta, MINA – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has agreed not to include Myanmar’s junta leader in the summit scheduled for October 26-28.
The ASEAN foreign ministers made the decision in a special meeting which was held virtually on Friday nightas quoted from Repubika.co.id.
The meeting last night discussed the Myanmar military’s failure to carry out a peace process to end the bloody crisis triggered by the coup against Myanmar’s elected government on February 1, 2021.
Five sources with knowledge of the meeting said Myanmar’s junta leader Min Aung Hlaing would not be invited to the ASEAN summit.
Instead, ASEAN expects the presence of a non-political figure from Myanmar. If such an arrangement is not accepted by the Myanmar military, ASEAN foreign ministers agree to vacate Myanmar’s seat at the ASEAN summit, two other sources told Reuters, quoted Saturday.
ASEAN has not released an official statement regarding the foreign ministers meeting. A Myanmar military spokesman has yet to comment on the decision.
The decision to exclude the junta leader would be a historic step for ASEAN, which has a policy of not interfering in each other’s internal affairs and has long used no sanctions or other crackdowns to isolate Myanmar.
International pressure has prompted ASEAN to take a tougher stance on Myanmar’s failure to take agreed steps to end the violence, allow the delivery of humanitarian aid, and initiate peace dialogue with all parties.
Myanmar has been one of ASEAN’s most divisive issues since it joined the union in 1997. The military dictatorship, condemned by the West for its iron fist rule, is testing ASEAN unity and undermining its international credibility.
The United States, Australia, Canada, South Korea, Britain and the European Union issued a joint statement expressing concern about the “dire situation” in Myanmar while supporting ASEAN’s mediation efforts.
“We reaffirm our strong support for ASEAN’s continued efforts to chart a way out of the current crisis,” the statement released on Friday.
The joint statement also urged Myanmar to cooperate with ASEAN’s special envoy to Myanmar Erywan Yusof. Erywan has decided not to visit Myanmar this month, sources said.
He insisted he be allowed to meet with all parties in Myanmar, including ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi, to find a solution to the country’s political crisis.
However, Myanmar junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun said he would welcome Erywan’s visit but would not allow him to meet Suu Kyi, who has been jailed on various felony charges.
Whereas previously the Myanmar junta had stated its commitment to work with ASEAN to restore order in the country in order to facilitate the return of democracy. (T/RE1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)