Malaysia, during the special ASEAN summit on Saturday that the Burmese military leader is expected to attend, will urge the Myanmar member state’s government to allow observers from the bloc. area, Malaysia’s top diplomat said on Tuesday.
Foreign Minister Hisham Hishammuddin also announced that Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin will attend the summit in Jakarta. That would make Muyhiddin one of the only four leaders confirmed to be involved, aside from Myanmar’s Min Aung Hlaing – during the supposedly high-level meeting of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations to discuss this issue. coup turmoil in Myanmar.
“We hope that with our discussions in Jakarta, Myanmar will agree to receive representatives from the ASEAN Brunei president or from the ASEAN secretariat in Jakarta to observe and help Myanmar get back to normal,” said Hishammuddin. to reporters, according to a video he posted on Twitter.
“The norm” that Hishammuddin is referring to is Myanmar before the coup.
Since Myanmar troops overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government on February 1, the government’s armed forces and police have killed more than 700 people – most of them anti-demonstrators. coup – according to the Association for Supporting Political Prisoners, a human rights group in Myanmar in Thailand.
Mr. Hishammuddin said he reiterated Malaysia’s view of the situation in Myanmar with the head of the United Nations at the end of Tuesday.
“Just now, I received a phone call from the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. Talk about Myanmar and reiterate Malaysia’s stance that violence must end; political detainees must be released; and an ASEAN representative [representative] Hishammuddin said.
Malaysia and Indonesia have spearheaded the ASEAN leaders’ call to hold a summit on the crisis in Myanmar, a move strongly endorsed by Singapore. The ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta on Tuesday formally confirmed that its offices will be the venue for the Saturday meeting.
But as of Tuesday, Muhyiddin was only the fourth ASEAN leader, after Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, Brunei King Hassanal Bolkiah and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, confirmed that he would attend the summit at The bloc’s headquarters in Indonesia. capital.
Also on Tuesday, Brunei said Prime Minister Bolkiah would preside over the April 24 meeting, Reuters reported, citing a statement from his office. The monarch on the island of Borneo is this year holding the position of ASEAN’s rotating presidency.
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha, a former military leader, will not be present, he confirmed on Tuesday.
“Regarding the ASEAN summit, I decided to send it [Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister] Don Pramudwinai will be in attendance and I know that many countries are also sending their foreign ministers, ”Prayuth told reporters.
How this affects ASEAN’s response to the dire situation in Myanmar remains to be seen.
Notably, a special meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers, held shortly after the military coup, failed to reach a consensus on demanding immediate release of the civilian leader of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi and others were detained by the military. Instead, ASEAN merely called for the cessation of violence in Myanmar and urged dialogue to end the crisis.
Muhyiddin ‘will remain firm’ on Malaysia’s stance over Myanmar
ASEAN has been criticized for its inability to reach a consensus on how to deal with Myanmar’s government for more than two months since the subsequent coup and bloodshed carried out by government troops. After all, the regional bloc features former military leaders and one-party states, such as Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.
On Monday, UN head Guterres also said he was disappointed that the split within ASEAN had prevented a unified response from the regional group to Myanmar.
Malaysia’s Foreign Minister said Muhyiddin would reiterate to the Burmese military that they must end the violence and release all political detainees.
“General Min [Aung Hlaing] will attend [the meeting]. Coincidentally, he will sit next to us but we are steadfast in our stance and principles as the Prime Minister stated before, ”said Hishammuddin.
“[T]The Prime Minister will remain firm with Min [Aung Hlaing] stand in the meeting we will be attending on Saturday. I will inform the foreign ministers of other countries when I meet them on Malaysia’s stance and what the Prime Minister will bring to the meeting of ASEAN leaders ”, Mr. Hishammuddin said.
During the preparation of the special meeting, officials from all over ASEAN, including the host country Indonesia, were mostly quiet about the summit. Tuesday’s ASEAN Secretariat statement was similarly very short in detail – not even saying that the meeting will discuss Myanmar.
Officials at the secretariat did not immediately respond on Tuesday about follow-up queries from BenarNews., an online news service affiliated with RFA, about the statement.
Meanwhile, there was a new backlash against ASEAN after it was reported that Min Aung Hlaing was invited to the meeting on April 24.
On Tuesday, a coalition of Indonesian civil society groups – including Amnesty International Indonesia, the Indonesian Milk Tea Alliance and the Asian Forum – said it was disappointed and declined to join. Burmese army head.
The coalition said Myanmar must be “legitimately represented” by the National Unified Government (NUG) at the ASEAN summit. NUG is a parallel government launched on Friday consisting of lawmakers that won the seats in the November 2020 election, which the Myanmar army had toppled with force.
The coalition also said ASEAN must get reassurance from the government to allow humanitarian and medical groups to enter conflict areas in Myanmar.
And it urged the Indonesian government to work with ASEAN to investigate Burmese servicemen involved in the murder of unarmed pro-democracy protesters.
Irine Putri, a legislator from the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Strive (PDIP), has previously said that Min Aung Hlaing should not be welcome in Jakarta and ASEAN should invite NUG representatives.
“The Indonesian government is not recognized as the legitimate government of Myanmar, because it massacred civilians and suppressed the democracy movement,” Irine said in a statement on Monday.
For its part, NUG appreciated Min Aung Hlaing’s expected presence at the meeting in Jakarta.
“If ASEAN is looking at actions related to Myanmar issues, I would say that it will not work unless it is negotiated with NUG, is supported by the people and has full legitimacy,” he said. assigned NUG Moe Zaw Oo to speak with Radio Voice of America. Sunday.
Reported by BenarNews, an online news service affiliated with RFA.