After nearly a year of deadly conflict between the Burmese military junta that overthrew the government and citizen protesters and rebel insurgent groups, Burmese junta leader General Min Aung Hlaing has declared a ceasefire in Myanmar after meeting with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. The Prime Minister met with the junta leader on Friday after months of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations trying to send an envoy to negotiate peace in the troubled country.
As the leader of the National Administrative Council that is holding control in Myanmar now, Min Aung Hlaing said that he had arranged a 5-month ceasefire with the Ethnic Armed Organizations aligned against them, set to expire next month. But he agreed to now extend that ceasefire until the end of 2022.
The news was reported by the Vietnam News Agency that was citing a press release that had been issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia. The Burmese leader said that he was asking in the interest of the people of Myanmar that all parties stay calm and refrain from any more violence in acceptance of the peace treaty.
In a surprising change of course, Min Aung Hlaing said that he welcomed the Special Ambassador to Myanmar from ASEAN to take part in the ceasefire talks with the EAO after months of treading water trying to get representatives from the countries of Southeast Asia into Myanmar with no progress.
The visit from Cambodia’s prime minister may be because, as of January 1st, Cambodia is the new chair of ASEAN. Hun Sen is now the first foreign leader on Burmese soil since the coup last February. He spent two days on the ground in hopes of finding solutions to the political crisis and opening up the military junta to constructive talks with countries in the region that have a stake in the stability of Myanmar and Southeast Asia.
One telling detail is that, while inviting the ASEAN Special Ambassador to Myanmar and the ASEAN Secretary-General to come to the country, they stressed the need to arrange logistics for humanitarian aid and Covid-19 vaccination for the people of Myanmar, suggesting that perhaps a growing medical emergency has prompted the change of heart.
Regardlessly, many hope news of a ceasefire and being open to foreign assistance and negotiation will be the start of a path to peace and recovery for the ravaged nation.
SOURCE: Asian News Today