© Reuters. Protesters defend themselves in front of the army in the Kale, Sagaing region
(Reuters) – Southeast Asian countries will discuss the crisis in Myanmar at the summit in Jakarta on Saturday, the ASEAN secretariat said on Tuesday, but the Thai prime minister said some The country will be represented only by their foreign ministers.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said he would not attend and Deputy Prime Minister Don Pramudwinai, who is also foreign minister, represents Thailand.
“A number of other countries will also send their foreign ministers,” Prayuth, a former military commander who led the 2014 Thai coup, told reporters after a weekly cabinet meeting.
A Thai government official said on Saturday that Myanmar’s army chief Min Aung Hlaing will be arriving in Jakarta, although the Myanmar government has not made any comment. However, this is seen as unlikely – in previous periods of military rule, Myanmar was often represented by the prime minister or foreign minister at regional meetings.
The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) tried to find a way to guide Myanmar out of the bloody chaos it plunged after the military overthrew an elected government, run by the winners. Nobel Prize Aung San Suu Kyi led, February 1.
But there are differing views among ASEAN members on how to respond to military use of lethal force against civilians and policies of consensus and non-interference in each other’s affairs have limited their ability to do so. action of the block.
Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore have sought to increase the pressure on the government. Thailand, Myanmar’s neighbor, said it was “very concerned” about the escalating bloodshed, but close military ties and concerns over a wave of refugees mean it’s unlikely. function goes further.
Brunei, the bloc’s current chairman, said after a meeting between the bloc’s foreign ministers in March that ASEAN expressed concern about the situation in Myanmar and urged “all parties to restrain, not incite further violence. force “.
Romeo Jr. Abad Arca, assistant director of the community relations division of the ASEAN Secretariat, said Saturday’s summit will take place at headquarters in Jakarta under strict pandemic health and security protocols. , confirmed an earlier advice.
According to the operation group of the Association for Supporting Political Prisoners (AAPP), 738 people have been killed by Myanmar security forces since the coup.
Myanmar’s military has shown little willingness to engage with its neighbors and shows no sign of wanting to speak to members of the government they were toppled, accusing some of them of treason and punishable by death.
Pro-democracy politicians, including members of parliament to be ousted from Ms. Suu Kyi’s party, announced the creation of a National United Government (NUG) on Friday.
It includes Suu Kyi, who has been detained since the coup, as well as leaders of pro-democracy protests and ethnic minorities.
NUG said it is the legal body and has called for international recognition and invitation to attend the ASEAN meeting on behalf of the military leader.
Former U.N. leader Ban Ki-moon urged his successor to engage directly with the Myanmar army to prevent increased violence and argued that Southeast Asian countries should not see chaos as a problem. Myanmar’s internal topics.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ special envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, has been in contact with the military since the coup, but authorities have not allowed her to visit.
In its staunchest response, the European Union on Monday said 9 members of the military’s State Administration Council, formed the day after the coup, had been targeted with the ban. travel and property freezes. Information Minister U Chit Naing was also sanctioned.
This decision is subject to similar measures of the United States. Min Aung Hlaing and Myint Swe, who have held the presidency since the coup, were blacklisted by the EU last month.