Junta rejects push for new Asean Myanmar envoy to meet opponents | Global News
Close  

Junta rejects push for new Asean Myanmar envoy to meet opponents

/ 11:12 AM February 21, 2022
asean flags

Flags are seen outside the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) secretariat building, ahead of the ASEAN leaders’ meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, April 23, 2021. REUTERS FILE PHOTO

YANGON — The Myanmar junta on Sunday rejected a regional special envoy’s request to meet with a group of ousted lawmakers — which it had branded a terrorist group — amid attempts to break a year long political stalemate since the coup.

Myanmar has been in chaos, its economy paralyzed and more than 1,500 civilians have been killed in a military crackdown since the putsch in February 2021, according to a local monitoring group.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations — a 10-country bloc — has been at the forefront of diplomatic efforts to end the crisis which triggered mass protests and a brutal crackdown on dissent, including 12,000 people arrested.

Cambodian foreign minister Prak Sokhonn, the new Asean special envoy to Myanmar, told a meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers Thursday that he planned to visit in March and meet with top junta officials.

FEATURED STORIES

With backing from Malaysia, he has also sought to meet with members of a “National Unity Government” dominated by lawmakers from Aung San Suu Kyi’s ousted party that is working to overthrow the junta.

Myanmar’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement late on Sunday saying it would promote “constructive cooperation with ASEAN including the special envoy”.

However, it could not agree to the special envoy engaging with “unlawful associations and terrorist groups” because they were “perpetrating violence and pursuing (a) total destructive path”.

The Ministry said the suggestion was “contrary to the principles of the Asean charter but also undermines Asean’s counter-terrorism efforts”.

“The Ministry again urges the two members not to use Asean platforms to make such comments and encourages (them) to condemn the terrorist acts,” the statement said.

In May last year the junta declared the NUG “terrorists” and has jailed several high-ranking members of Suu Kyi’s party.

Most NUG members are in exile or in hiding and Prak Sokhonn gave no details on where or when any future meeting might take place.

ADVERTISEMENT

Myanmar’s top diplomat was barred from Thursday’s meeting in Phnom Penh over a lack of progress in defusing violence, although Prak Sokhonn said junta representatives had been allowed to listen in on discussions.

RELATED STORIES

Myanmar junta says won’t attend Asean summit after ‘regrettable’ snub

Myanmar crisis overshadows ASEAN foreign ministers’ talks

Asean to exclude Myanmar junta chief from leaders’ summit – sources

Discord over Myanmar as ASEAN postpones year’s first meeting

Subscribe to our global nation newsletter


Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Cambodia, coup, Diplomacy, Myanmar, Politics
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.



© Copyright 1997-2022 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.