Conflicts & War

Myanmar opposition government lauds Asean boycott of junta

Bangkok, Oct 18 (EFE).- Myanmar’s shadow government of civilian politicians and pro-democracy activists Monday welcomed the decision of the Association of the Southeast Asia Nations (Asean) not to invite to the annual summit the military leader who ousted an elected government in a coup on Feb.1.

Asean foreign ministers at an emergency meeting on Friday night decided to exclude the military junta from the Asean meeting to take place on Oct.26-28.

“The National Unity Government of Myanmar appreciates the decision (…) to invite a non-political representative to the 38th and 39th summit and related summits,” it said in a statement.

The statement said the NUG, loyal to the ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi, welcomed the “unprecedented and positive” step by the regional bloc for the people of Myanmar.

“Since the illegal seizure of power on Feb.1, the junta has continued to take advantages of the Asean principles to prevent meaningful engagement to resolve the current political crisis while attempting to consolidate control of the country by force and violence,” the shadow government said.

“The junta has betrayed not only its people but also the leadership of the Asean.”

The NUG said it was ready to recommend a “non-political representative for Asean’s evaluation and consideration.”

The military junta has said it was “extremely disappointed” by the Asean snub.

The self-proclaimed unity government and the military junta, which ended a decade of a fledgling democracy in Myanmar, had requested to attend the annual summit.

The foreign ministers of the 10-member bloc met Friday to analyze the progress on the five-point consensus between the Asean leaders and the military junta leader General Min Aung Hlaing.

The agreement in April stressed a solution to the political and social crisis triggered by the coup.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.

Myanmar Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin defended the decision of the junta not to allow the special Asean envoy for Myanmar, Bruneian Minister Erywan Yusof, to meet the ousted leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, due to the legal proceedings against her.

Earlier, Yusof abruptly suspended his first trip to the Asian country after the military denied him a meeting with Suu Kyi.

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

They noted the “importance of a visit of the envoy”, emphasizing the importance of “access to all parties concerned.”

On the other hand, the foreign ministers appreciated the Myanmar military junta’s “continued readiness” to work closely with the special envoy while calling for greater “flexibility” to build “trust and confidence” between all parties.

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.

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 7,340 protesters since Feb.1. EFE


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