Conflicts & War

Myanmar junta ‘disappointed’ by exclusion from ASEAN summit

Bangkok, Oct 17 (EFE).- Myanmar’s military junta said it was “extremely disappointed” by the exclusion of the junta’s leader from the annual summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), scheduled to take place between Oct. 26 and 28.

“Myanmar is extremely disappointed and strongly objected the outcomes of the Emergency Foreign Ministers’ Meeting as the discussions and decision on Myanmar’s representation issue was done without consensus and was against the objectives of the ASEAN, the ASEAN Charter and its principles,” Myanmar’s foreign ministry said in a statement late Saturday.

The foreign ministers of the bloc’s ten member states held an emergency meeting on Friday to analyze the progress made on the five-point consensus, reached in April between the ASEAN leaders and the leader of the military junta, General Min Aung Hlaing, to seek a solution to the political and social crisis triggered by the coup.

During the meeting, Myanmar’s Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin presented his arguments, as did the mediator appointed in August by ASEAN, Bruneian Minister Erywan Yusof, who this week abruptly suspended his first trip to the Asian country due to the authorities’ refusal to allow him to meet the overthrown democratic leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

The bloc’s foreign ministers described the progress in the implementation of the five-point consensus as “insufficient.”

The five points include an end to violence against civilians, a dialog between all parties to reach a peaceful solution, and the appointment of an ASEAN mediator and his visit to Myanmar.

Despite “extensive discussions,” the representatives of the Southeast Asian bloc failed to reach a consensus on a political representative from Myanmar since both the military junta, which ended a decade of incipient democracy in Myanmar with a coup on Feb. 1, and the self-proclaimed National Unity Government (NUG), formed in April by pro-democracy politicians and activists, had requested to attend the annual summit.

“While reaffirming the principle of non-interference in internal affairs of another member state, and to allow Myanmar the space to restore its internal affairs and return to normalcy, the meeting accepted the decision to invite a non-political representative from Myanmar to the upcoming summits,” the bloc said without giving more details.

Military junta spokesperson Zaw Min Tun told the BBC Burmese news service that the decision was an outcome of pressure from the United States and the European Union.

The Myanmar junta justifies the coup, citing alleged electoral fraud in the now annulled election results in which Suu Kyi’s party won a landslide victory.

International observers have cleared the polls as free and fair.

At least 1,178 people have died in violent repression by police and soldiers since the coup, data from the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners showed.

The military has also detained more than 7,350 protesters since Feb.1. EFE


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