After a series of diplomatic visits within the bloc, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) agreed to convene a special meeting in Jakarta to address the crisis in Myanmar, which continues to move ashore. national civil war.
The Malaysian and Brunei governments made the announcement yesterday, following a meeting between Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Hassanal Bolkiah, the king of Brunei, which holds ASEAN’s rotating presidency for 2021.
At the end of one General statement At the conclusion of the meeting, the two leaders said that they “agreed to have ASEAN leaders meet to discuss ongoing developments in Myanmar and assign tasks to ministers and senior officials. they made the necessary preparations for the meeting to be held in ASEAN. Secretariat in Jakarta, Indonesia. “The two sides did not announce the date of the special summit.
Declaring that “ASEAN is still more concerned with Myanmar’s settlement of the crisis and regaining stability”, the statement also expressed a common concern for the deteriorating situation in the country, at the same time “calling for restraint was not incited by all parties, and because all parties immediately exercised maximum restraint and flexibility. “According to the Association for Supporting Political Prisoners, at least 570 people have been killed by security forces since the coup, and more than 3,000 people were arrested.
Whenever it happens, the meeting will be the culmination of the efforts of ASEAN member states, especially Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, to get more involved in resolving the crisis in Myanmar. These diplomatic efforts demonstrate the perception that the military coup and its aftermath made ASEAN credible, while questioning the legitimacy of the claim to take a central place. diplomacy of the region.
For example, now that most Western governments strongly condemn the coup, impose sanctions on key military figures and their economic interests, it is difficult to see ineffectiveness. any of them agree to sit at the table with official figures at the ASEAN Summit and related meetings. later this year. Indeed, similar considerations prompted ASEAN to decide to promote Myanmar relinquished its presidency of the block in 2006.
It is unclear what ASEAN can do this time to resolve the situation. Malaysia and Bruneian announcements came a few days after anti-coup forces, led by the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Representative Committee (CRPH), a group of parliamentarians elected. officially announced plans to form a “united government”, which introduces a provisional constitution and formally declares nullification of the 2008 constitution drafted by the military.
Like me note last weekThis move “heralds the creation of a more cohesive and formalized parallel government that could impose a more serious attempt to gain international recognition”. It also seeks to attract support from Myanmar’s myriad ethnic minority armed groups, whose support would be crucial if the anti-coup movement prevails.
In the short term, the creation of a parallel government has the potential to clear the lines of conflict between the military and the widespread anti-coup movement that seeks not only to reverse the seizure on February 1. but also permanent deportation. of the military from Myanmar’s politics and re-enacting the country as a full-blown federal democracy.
With CRPH and the current Civil Disobedience Movement Fundraising began, and nurturing the purpose of forming a united federal army to fight the Tatmadaw, the more likely Myanmar civil conflicts – which have erupted almost non-stop since the land The country gained independence in 1948 – submerging the entire country. Last week, a UN special envoy warning that Myanmar “is on the verge of swirling into a state of failure.”
Thus, the crisis turned into an end-to-end war between the military class and their opponents, with no side showing any willingness to compromise, or even engage in negotiations, with the other. .
All of this is a challenging bottleneck for ASEAN, which is limited by its non-interference and consensus working principles. While the bloc’s members have flexibly interpreted the old principle in the past, such as when it urged Myanmar to give up its presidency in 2006, bringing all 10 member states of the bloc reached Getting consensus on a more positive approach will be a major challenge. .
Even then, ASEAN’s most likely path of diplomacy was to broker negotiations between the military administration and representatives from the CRPH, perhaps with the participation of other international actors. But this is not guaranteed to be accepted by either of the two fighting groups, including anti-coup protesters, whose any sign of negotiated compromise equates to backing the military, as well as the generals in their bunker Naypyidaw, whose recent actions have shown similarly less willingness to come to the table.
Whenever a summit takes place, it will require sublime resourceful, creative diplomacy if it has to end in anything other than a disturbing recipe narrative.