10/05/2021, 11.57
MYANMAR
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Asean: 'Burmese military junta not participating in peace efforts'

Southeast Asian nations lament the lack of progress in Myanmar's peace process. Malaysia's foreign minister has floated the idea of excluding the country from upcoming summits. Aung San Suu Kyi calls for her hearings to be held less frequently because she is too tired. A hundred journalists remain in jail.

Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Southeast Asian nations have expressed disappointment over Myanmar's lack of commitment to following the peace plan agreed upon between the military junta and Asean.

Since the Feb. 1 coup, the Tatmadaw (the Burmese military) has been criticized by the international community for its violent suppression of pro-democracy protests.

The United States, China, and the United Nations have supported the efforts of a special envoy from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to convince the military junta and its opponents to end the crisis. But "there has been no significant progress. The military has not given a positive response to what has been attempted by the special envoy," reported Indonesia's Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.

Malaysian counterpart Saifuddin Abdullah in a tweet floated the idea of excluding the junta chief, General Min Aung Hlaing, from the Asean summit later this month.

Meanwhile, the trial of the country's former leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who yesterday asked that her hearings be held every two weeks and not every Monday due to health problems, is proceeding, reports her lawyer Khin Maung Zaw.

Zaw added that Suu Kyi, 76, "does not have any specific illness," but only suffers from fatigue.

The cases are being handled by multiple courts in different cities in Myanmar and her supporters fear she could be stuck in these lawsuits for years. The former National League for Democracy leader is accused of accepting bribes in gold bars, violating anti-coveted protocols, inciting public disorder, illegal possession of walkie-talkies, and violating the Official Secrets Act, among other charges. 

Several journalists are also still detained. Danny Fenster, a 37-year-old U.S. citizen who has already spent more than four months in pre-trial detention, was charged with a new crime yesterday, while authorities refused to disclose the reasons for his detention. Fenster runs the Frontier Myanmar website and has been charged with "sedition" and, as of yesterday, participating in activities of "illegal associations." Since the coup, the military junta has imprisoned about a hundred journalists.

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