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Will Myanmar junta leader be given a seat at ASEAN summit?

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: ASEAN members debate giving Min Aung Hlaing, Burmese military leader, a seat at the summit. (via Wikimedia)

A summit of the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will take place later this month and delegates are debating whether to include Myanmar or not. The troubled nation is a member of the association, but other nations are debating whether to recognise and invite the military junta leader that overthrew the elected government in Myanmar in February to the ASEAN summit this month.

After a summit in April to address the political turmoil in Myanmar, a 5-point plan was agreed upon for the military to work towards restoring peace in the country. But after months of stagnation and inaction, the special envoy appointed as part of that plan said that the military junta’s inaction was “tantamount to backtracking.”

In the 6 months since the plan was laid out, virtually no steps have been taken and none of the 5 points have been tackled. The envoy says that the military junta has not directly responded to messages including the request to meet with detained leaders like Aung San Suu Kyi.

Other steps laid out by the ASEAN plan included open dialogues between the military, the association of nations, and the deposed leaders of Myanmar, opening the Burmese borders to humanitarian aid, and an immediate cease to all violent clashes. None of those things have taken place.

With a complete lack of action, ASEAN is challenged as it strives to be inclusive but also is faced with including a glaring dictatorship rife with human rights violations. The envoy’s disappointment was echoed in comments by Malaysia’s top diplomat who said that, while the envoy was doing whatever was possible, in the face of the military junta’s inaction, recognising the military leader Min Aung Hlaing by giving him a seat this month’s summit would be nearly morally impossible.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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