Conflicts & War

ASEAN names Brunei minister as special envoy for Myanmar

Bangkok, Aug 4 (EFE).- Brunei’s deputy minister for foreign affairs, Erywan Yusof, has been named the special envoy for Myanmar by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, as part of a five-point consensus reached between the bloc and the head of the Burmese military junta that had seized power in a coup on Feb. 1.

In a joint statement published on Wednesday, the foreign ministers of ASEAN – which includes Myanmar and nine other countries of the region – said that Yusof would work for “building trust and confidence with full access to all parties concerned and providing a clear timeline on the implementation of the Five-Point Consensus.”

Sidharto Suryodipuro, director general for ASEAN cooperation, told Indonesian press that the mediator would start working immediately and would present his primary conclusions in the bloc’s next foreign ministers’ meeting in September.

In their meeting held on Monday, the Southeast Asian ministers expressed concern over “the situation in the country, including reports of fatalities and violence.”

“We also heard calls for the release of political detainees including foreigners,” said the statement in an apparent reference to detained foreign citizens such as American journalist Danny Fenster and Australian economist Sean Turnell.

Since the beginning of the crisis triggered by the Myanmar coup, ASEAN has become the main international interlocutor for the military junta, especially after a summit in Jakarta in April – attended by junta leader Min Aung Hlaing – where the consensus and the appointment of the envoy were agreed upon.

Myanmar’s security forces have killed at least 945 people since the coup during violent repression of protests, while over 7,000 people have been arrested, according to figures from the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners.

Apart from the envoy’s appointment, the five-point consensus also mandates immediate cessation of violence against civilians, establishing a dialog between all parties to seek a peaceful solution to the conflict and the supply of humanitarian aid.

However, violence has continued unabated since the Jakarta summit in April and according to the AAPP, around 200 people have been killed since then.

At Monday’s meeting, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said that “no significant process” had been made towards solving the political crisis in Myanmar and insisted that the ASEAN special envoy must be granted full access to all the parties.

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