Myanmar Junta Has Right to Attend ASEAN Meetings: Hun Sen
By The Irrawaddy 6 December 2021
Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen said he plans to visit Myanmar for talks with the coup leaders and said junta officials should be invited to Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meetings, according to Channel News Asia.
The Cambodian PM suggested on Monday that while Cambodia is the ASEAN chair for the next year, all 10 members would be represented.
“It [Myanmar] is a family member of ASEAN, they must have the right to attend meetings,” said Hun Sen during an inauguration ceremony for a Chinese-funded construction project in Cambodia.
His comments follow his statement last week that he was ready to visit Myanmar in his capacity as Cambodia’s PM, without imposing any conditions on the military regime.
Myanmar’s junta-appointed foreign minister will visit Cambodia on Tuesday, and Hun Sen said he would likely visit Myanmar soon.
“There is a strong possibility I will visit Naypyitaw to meet with Senior General Min Aung Hlaing to work with him. If I don’t work with the leadership, whom can I work with?” Hun Sen said.
He referred to ASEAN’s long-held convention of member countries not interfering in each other’s internal affairs, adding that, “under the ASEAN charter, no one has the right to expel another member”.
His willingness to engage with the military regime and his proposal to visit Myanmar raises questions over whether ASEAN’s current unified stand on Myanmar will survive, now that Cambodia has taken over as chair of the regional bloc for the next year.
Relations between ASEAN and Myanmar turned sour recently after the bloc broke with precedent and excluded coup leader Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing from its October summit, following the regime’s failure to honor its commitments to ASEAN to solve the country’s political crisis.
Myanmar has been in political, social and economic turmoil since the junta’s February 1 coup, with a majority of the country’s population rejecting the military takeover and rebelling against the regime’s rule by both civil disobedience and armed resistance.
Since the coup, the junta has killed more than 1,300 people, while thousands more have been detained, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which monitors deaths and arrests.
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