ASEAN ‘deeply disappointed’ at lack of progress in Myanmar

Phnom Penh, Aug 5 (EFE).- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) said Friday it was “deeply disappointed” at the “limited progress” and “lack of commitment” of Myanmar’s military junta to the Five-Point Consensus agreed upon more than a year ago to mitigate the crisis its coup has caused in the country.

In a joint statement during the ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting in Phnom Penh, to which Myanmar’s military regime was not invited, the representatives of the bloc’s other nine nations expressed “concerns over the prolonged political crisis in the country, including the execution of four opposition activists” last week.

The foreign ministers did not take any action, recommending instead that at the leaders’ summit to be held in November the bloc will evaluate the junta’s “progress towards the implementation of the Five-Point Consensus” to guide any “new steps.”

The joint statement was published after long negotiations between the member countries present due to the differences between those who wanted decisive action, such as Malaysia, and those more reluctant to rattle Myanmar’s junta.

Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing and his foreign minister have been banned from high-ranking meetings of the Southeast Asian bloc, although military representatives have participated in other appointments.

The Five-Point Consensus, agreed to in April 2021 between the junta and the other ASEAN members, included ending violence against civilians and starting dialogue between all parties involved in the conflict, including the ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi, incarcerated in a Naypyidaw prison where she is serving time on charges brought after the coup.

More than a year later, its application is non-existent and Myanmar is still mired in a deep political, economic and social crisis, with brutal repression of security forces against dissidents.

The latest example of this crackdown was the execution last week of four activists, including former National League for Democracy MP and ex-hip-hop star Phyo Zeya Thaw and veteran activist Ko Jimmy, who were convicted in January on terrorism charges. EFE


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