JAKARTA, Indonesia (HPD) — Southeast Asian foreign ministers acknowledged Thursday that their efforts to bring peace to Myanmar have been unsuccessful and agreed to increase their resolve to end violence in the country, where a military coup last year triggered a crisis that threatens to destabilize the region.
Recent events in Myanmar, including a military airstrike on Sunday that reportedly killed 80 members of the Kachin ethnic minority and the execution of political prisoners in July, have raised concerns among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN ), made up of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
At a special meeting on Myanmar in Jakarta, Indonesia, ASEAN foreign ministers called for “concrete, time-bound and practical actions” to strengthen implementation of a five-point consensus the group reached in April last year on ways to seek peace.
ASEAN has tried to play a peacemaking role since the coup in Myanmar in February last year that toppled the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.
The five-point consensus calls for an immediate cessation of violence, a dialogue between the parties concerned, the mediation of an ASEAN special envoy, the provision of humanitarian aid, and a visit to Myanmar by the special envoy to meet with the parties concerned.
The Myanmar government initially accepted the consensus but has made little effort to implement it, apart from seeking humanitarian aid and allowing a visit by ASEAN’s envoy, Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn. But the military junta did not allow Sokhonn to meet with Suu Kyi, who is under arrest and on trial on charges critics say are designed to sideline her from politics.
In response, ASEAN has not allowed Myanmar’s leaders to participate in its official meetings, although some working-level officials have joined.
Peck reported from Bangkok and Eileen Ng from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.