Cambodia urges Myanmar’s junta to let ASEAN envoy meet with Aung San Suu Kyi
As ASEAN’ current chairman, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen made the request. In March Myanmar’s military junta prevented the regional organisation’s envoy from meeting Myanmar’s former leader. In 15 months, the army has torched more than 11,000 homes and killed more than 1,800 civilians.
Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Cambodia’s prime minister has asked the head of Myanmar’s military junta to allow a special envoy from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi.
Hun Sen, who chairs the Association of Southeast Asian Nations this year, spoke to General Min Aung Hlaing on Monday, saying that it was imperative that the ASEAN envoy meet with all of Myanmar’s main leaders, including Suu Kyi, the former head of the civilian government who was recently sentenced to five years on corruption charges.
The Cambodian leader asked the junta to allow a second visit by the ASEAN representative, Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn, after the first, in March, produced no results.
After the coup d'état of 1 February 2021, Myanmar plunged into a bloody civil conflict between the country’s Armed Forces and the armed anti-coup opposition.
The resistance is formed by the exiled National Unity Government (NUG), which has its own armed forces (the People's Defence Forces), and ethnic militias present in a number of the country’s states.
ASEAN's five-point Myanmar peace plan is the only diplomatic initiative on the table. It is backed by international organisations but has not yet been implemented. Regional leaders accuse Myanmar’s military junta of stonewalling.
After Malaysian Foreign Minister, Saifuddin Abdullah, revealed that he had had contacts with NUG, Myanmar’s junta accused him of collaborating with “terrorist groups”.
For its part, ASEAN has refused to allow General Min Aung Hlaing to take part in its summits until a peace process is initiated, a remote possibility despite the fact that the junta claims to have accepted the five-point plan. The latter calls for an end to violence, humanitarian assistance, and mediation.
Recently, General Min Aung Hlaing has tried to engage the leaders of ethnic groups. On 22 April he addressed them in a televised speech asking for direct talks. The NUG and its armed forces were not mentioned. The ethnic militias rejected the general's proposal.
According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, the junta has killed so far over 1,800 civilians and arrested more than 10,000 people, while the Data for Myanmar, an independent research group, claims that Myanmar soldiers have torched at least 11,000 homes in nearly 300 locations.