ASEAN leaders at the ASEAN 42nd summit in Indonesia, May 10, 2023, Pic via REUTERS
LABUAN BAJO, INDONESIA: ASEAN released a statement on the first day of the ASEAN summit in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia, on May 10 concerning the peace situation in Myanmar and urged Myanmar to stop its violent actions.
Nine of the 10 ASEAN leaders released statements on Myanmar to stop violence and welcome international humanitarian aid.
Myanmar’s delegate seat was empty, and the military leader Min Aung Hlaing was not invited to the ASEAN summit.
Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said that Malaysia is disappointed in the lack of progress on Myanmar’s implementation of the five-point peace consensus of ASEAN. Anwar points out that Malaysia accepts more than two hundred thousand refugees from Myanmar due to Myanmar’s political unrest.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo agreed that there has been no progress in Myanmar’s peace process, saying that “significant progress has not been made in Myanmar’s implementation towards the five-point consensus”.
Indonesian Foreign Minister. Retno Marsudi said a week before the summit that quiet engagement was made by Indonesia with the military government, the National Unity government, and ethnic armed organizations to initiate peace talks in Myanmar.
ASEAN’s leader also condemned an unknown gunman’s attack on ASEAN’s aid in the Eastern Shan State of Myanmar, which caused no injuries.
The National Unity Government welcomes ASEAN’s decision to call upon Myanmar to stop the violence.
Kyaw Zaw, spokesperson of the presidential office of the National Unity Government, told VOA Burmese. – “We welcome ASEAN’s involvement in solving Myanmar’s struggle. We are ready to collaborate with the humanitarian aid actions towards the refugees of Myanmar who take refuge from the terror actions of the Myanmar military”.
Kyaw Win, Director of the Burman Human Rights Network (BHRN), said in a BHRN press release that “ASEAN cannot expect to negotiate with an oppressive regime holding the country hostage. The source of all of Myanmar’s most significant problems is the military.
The regime only manages to survive because the world has taken a soft stance against it after each crime against humanity. This cannot continue, and ASEAN has a particular influence to deny them any semblance of legitimacy.
“Burma Human Rights Network mentioned this in its statement, which calls upon ASEAN to give Myanmar a seat in the National Unity Government.
Myanmar’s political unrest strengthened with the coup d’état in 2021, followed by a strengthened armed struggle in Myanmar.