Myanmar Junta Denies Accepting ASEAN Ceasefire Proposal

By The Irrawaddy 7 September 2021

Myanmar’s military regime has denied that it has accepted the call for a four-month ceasefire made by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) special envoy to Myanmar.

ASEAN’s special envoy, Erywan Yusof, told Kyodo News on Saturday that the junta had accepted his proposal of a four-month ceasefire until the end of this year to enable the delivery of humanitarian aid to Myanmar. The special envoy made the proposal to the junta-appointed Foreign Minister, U Wunna Maung Lwin, on August 31.

Erywan Yusof, Brunei’s second minister for foreign affairs, said also that he hopes to visit Myanmar this month and that he had requested a meeting with detained State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. However, the military regime has not yet said if he will be allowed to do so.

Junta spokesperson Major General Zaw Min Tun told The Irrawaddy on Monday that U Wunna Maung Lwin did not say that Myanmar had agreed to Erywan Yusof’s call for a ceasefire.

The Myanmar military has extended its current truce monthly until Sept. 30 since it was first declared on December 21, 2018, said the Maj. Gen, adding that it is ethnic armed organizations (EAO’s) who are violating the terms of the military-announced ceasefire on the ground.

“ASEAN also shared their assistance when the Cambodian health minister came to offer support. ASEAN’s general secretary is also planning to visit. We also invited the ASEAN special envoy to our press conference, which he declined to join,” said Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun.

The junta spokesperson said that the regime will not block humanitarian assistance or bar the visit of the ASEAN special envoy to Myanmar.

Erywan Yusof said also that he has passed his proposal for a ceasefire indirectly to parties opposed to the regime.

However, some EAOs have said that they do not believe that the junta would abide by any ceasefire.

Padoh Mahn Mahn, the spokesman for the Karen National Union’s Mutraw (Papun) District said that the military had previously taken advantage of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement to strengthen its power.

“It is nothing new because even if there is a ceasefire the military tend to use the tactics of divide and rule, leaving some areas out [of any ceasefire],” said Padoh Mahn Mahn.

A member of the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force also questioned whether any ceasefire would work.

“We can’t trust them; the military has deployed more troops in our [Kayah] state,” he said.

Myanmar has been in crisis since the military takeover and the ousting of the National League for Democracy government led by Daw Aung Suu Kyi. Armed resistance to the regime by civilian fighters and EAO’s has spread to every part of the country, apart from Rakhine State.

On Tuesday, the National Unity Government (NUG) called for the whole country to revolt and wage war against the military regime.

Last Sunday, the NUG called on the international community to help stop the junta’s crimes against innocent civilians.

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