Myanmar’s National Unity Govt ‘No Longer Has Faith’ in ASEAN

By The Irrawaddy 5 June 2021

Myanmar’s parallel National Unity Government (NUG) said it no longer has any expectation that ASEAN can help Myanmar, as the regional bloc has only engaged with the regime while neglecting it.

The comment came on Friday as two regional envoys visited the country as part of a five-point consensus agreed at the Jakarta meeting in late April, and met the junta leader, Min Aung Hlaing.

To help resolve the crisis caused by the military coup in February, the regional bloc has led the main international diplomatic effort. Four months on, the country is still reeling from the resulting chaos, such as the regime troops’ deadly crackdowns on protesters, economic stalemate and instability issues. The junta has been facing deadly resistance from ethnic armed groups as well as guerrilla-style civilian resistance forces across the country.

In April, the ASEAN leaders reached a five-point consensus, including urging Myanmar to accept the appointment of a special envoy to engage with all the parties and to grant access to humanitarian assistance from ASEAN.

After the Jakarta meeting, the Myanmar coup leader said the agreements will be carried out only when stability has returned to Myanmar.

During an online press conference on Friday, the NUG’s Deputy Foreign Minister U Moe Zaw Oo said the NUG had asked the ASEAN secretariat “many times” what ASEAN would do if the coup leader, who had consented to the bloc’s five-points consensus, does not comply with the agreement. The NUG was not invited to the April meeting despite its request.

“But there has been no response yet,” he said.

The deputy minister said ASEAN must engage with both sides, saying ASEAN at the moment is not engaging with the NUG, but only with the junta leaders.

“Frankly speaking, we no longer have any faith in ASEAN’s efforts, and we have no expectation,” he said, adding that it looks like “ASEAN does not have a solid plan for their credibility.”

On the same day in Naypyitaw, ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi and Erywan Yusof, Brunei’s foreign affairs minister, met with Myanmar coup leader Min Aung Hlaing. They discussed cooperating with Myanmar on humanitarian issues, according to the military’s mouthpiece Myawady TV.

The junta also raised the issue of violence in the country and blamed the NUG and the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (Union Parliament) (CRPH), both of which it has declared treasonous.

During the press conference, the NUG stressed that it had nothing to do with ongoing explosions at schools or the killing of junta-appointed general administrative officials in urban areas.

U Moe Zaw Oo said, “We disagree with violent acts, and we don’t commit such terror acts against civilians. The NUG is not related to such violence.”

The NUG’s deputy minister of defense, Daw Khin Ma Ma Myo, said the NUG and CRPH are being accused of destructive acts that are believed to have been committed by military thugs.

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