Indonesian president urges ASEAN to decide ‘next steps’ against Myanmar

Jakarta, May 11 (EFE).- Indonesia’s president called Thursday on leaders at a regional summit to decide the ” next steps” in the face of the Myanmar conflict, given the lack of progress on its current plan.

Joko Widodo made the remarks at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit on the Indonesian island of Flores.

“I must speak frankly. There has not been significant progress on the five-point consensus, and therefore ASEAN is required to be united in deciding the next steps,” Widodo said Thursday, on the second and last day of the summit in Labuan Bajo, according to a statement.

The five-point consensus was agreed in April 2021 during a summit in Jakarta with the Myanmar military junta, just two months after the coup on Feb. 1 of that year, which ended a decade of democratic transition in Myanmar and overthrew the civilian government of former leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The plan includes an end to the violence, dialog between all the parties involved in the conflict, the appointment of a special ASEAN envoy, the distribution of humanitarian aid and the posting of the special envoy to mediate in the conflict.

However, the lack of cooperation from the military regime, whose leader, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, was banned at the Flores summit, has not only prevented the plan from moving forward, but the situation in Myanmar has deteriorated in the past two years. The country has plunged into an escalation of violence since the armed forces took power.

According to the United Nations, at least 3,400 people have died at the hands of the military since the coup.

On Sunday, just a couple of days before the summit in Flores, a humanitarian aid convoy with diplomats and representatives from ASEAN was fired upon, without damage, as it headed for the town of Hsi Hseng, in Shan state.

Widodo, whose country holds the ASEAN presidency this year, said Thursday that Indonesia “continues to strive for the progress of the five-point consensus.”

The military uprising in Myanmar has exacerbated the decades-long conflict between the Myanmar army and ethnic minority guerrillas, sparking a massive protest movement, initially peaceful and later leading to the formation of civilian militias gaining ground on the armed forces.

Founded in 1967, ASEAN is made up of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar, and during the summit in Flores it established a road map for the inclusion, on an unspecified date, of East Timor. EFE


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