Aung San Suu Kyi is “indispensable” for Myanmar peace talk, says Philippines FM
The Philippines, amongst other neutral ASEAN members, made a strong statement on solving the Myanmar crisis yesterday as its foreign minister urged the 10 member bloc to invite the deposed leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, to any peace talks, citing she’s the key figure in restoring democracy to the turmoiled Southeast Asian nation, regardless of her conviction.
The Philippines Foreign Minister Teodoro Locsin made a powerful criticism of the Myanmar junta that deposed Suu Kyi’s democratic administration last year. He also condemned her conviction last week and accused the military of exploiting the legal system to suppress its opponents, adding that he agrees with Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt’s call for the release of political detainees and the end of violence in Myanmar.
In a statement, Locsin said…
“I am deeply concerned about the suffering of the civilian population… We also urge the military leadership to engage in an open and transparent dialogue and to resume the democratic transition process.”
His powerful remarks come as ASEAN increases pressure on Myanmar’s military following a tumultuous end to 2021, during which junta chief Min Aung Hlaing was barred from attending a leaders’ summit for failing to follow through on commitments to a bloc peace plan. Although the regime claims that terrorists attempting to destroy the country are thwarting its efforts, he refers to the militia groups that opposed them in nationwide armed conflicts.
Locsin went on to say that the meetings would be ineffective without Suu Kyi, who has been sentenced to six years in prison in a trial that includes more than a dozen cases ranging from corruption to violations of official secrets, all of which she denies.
“Suu Kyi is indispensable in a democratic restoration that will pose no threat of anarchy, dissolution, or civil conflict.”
Last week, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen visited Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw to meet with the military junta during his controversial trip that some members were afraid could signify ASEAN’s legitimization of the regime. Many right groups have criticised his visit amidst the ongoing atrocities and airstrikes perpetrated by the coup leader Min Aung Hlaing in northeast Myanmar.
According to Locsin, the Philippines will urge for progress on the bloc’s five-point consensus on Myanmar’s crisis, which includes peace talks, a cessation of hostilities, and humanitarian relief, and insisted that it could be the only way in any timeline, referring to the junta’s five-stage plan to restore democracy, which it proclaimed when it seized power.
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