Myanmar Military Regime Lashes Out at ASEAN After Summit Snub

By The Irrawaddy 25 October 2021

Myanmar’s military junta on Friday accused ASEAN of departing from its principles of consensus and noninterference after the regional bloc decided to exclude coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing from its upcoming summit and asked the regime to send a “politically neutral” representative instead. In an indication of the junta’s embarrassment about being excluded, it has yet to announce whether it will be sending a representative.

Then on Saturday, the military rulers followed their stern rebuke of ASEAN with a pledge to cooperate “as much as possible” with the five-point consensus it agreed with ASEAN. The consensus calls for ending the violence in the country, initiating a dialogue, allowing humanitarian support and granting the regional bloc’s special envoy access to the country.

However, Myanmar’s regime has so far failed to implement the steps called for in the consensus.

In an announcement in state media on Saturday, the junta said it upholds the principle of peaceful coexistence with other countries and would cooperate with ASEAN in following the consensus agreed in April, a plan backed by the West and China.

ASEAN’s special envoy, Erywan Yusof of Brunei, had sought a meeting with ousted leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, but the military regime said that was impossible because she was detained and charged with crimes.

The junta recently released thousands of political detainees after ASEAN downgraded the status of its representative at the summit. However, many prisoners, including top leaders of the previous government, chief ministers and politicians and activists, remain in prisons and unknown detention centers.

The Southeast Asian nation has been in chaos since a February coup, with more than 1,100 people killed in its crackdown on dissent, according to a local monitoring group.

Almost nine months after the military seized power, the country is seeing growing resistance to the regime, which has been unable to stamp out opposition to its rule. The generals are under increasing international pressure to engage with their opponents but they refuse to do so.

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