Indonesia’s efforts to kick-start peace process in Myanmar

Image courtesy of Bangkok Post

Indonesia has been discreetly engaging with Myanmar’s pro-democracy shadow government, the ruling junta, and ethnic minority armies for several months, according to Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi. As this year’s chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Indonesia aims to kick-start a peace process and reduce violence in the region.

In an interview, Marsudi revealed Indonesia’s behind-the-scenes efforts to de-escalate the crisis in Myanmar and initiate discussions between the key stakeholders. She did not provide details of these discussions but stated that Indonesian diplomats have had over 60 engagements with all relevant parties.

Indonesia’s move comes amid growing frustration among ASEAN members with Myanmar’s State Administrative Council, or junta, and its failure to implement a peace consensus agreed upon with the bloc two years ago.

Marsudi pointed out that Indonesia has engaged with various parties, including the State Administration Council, National Unity Government (NUG), and various ethnic rebel groups, in accordance with the five-point consensus. She emphasised the efforts to be as inclusive as possible.

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A spokesperson for the NUG confirmed that they are cooperating with the ASEAN chair in pursuing peace negotiations. Myanmar has been experiencing widespread violence and economic instability since the military coup in 2021. In response, individuals have formed a government-in-exile or joined armed resistance groups across the country, many of which align with the NUG and ethnic minority armies in opposing the junta.

Indonesia aims to bridge the disparities between stakeholders, according to Marsudi. Her comments come ahead of next week’s meeting in Indonesia of ASEAN leaders who have grown impatient with the junta’s lack of progress and ongoing attacks on adversaries. The regional organisation has excluded Myanmar’s generals from attending high-level meetings until it can demonstrate advancements in the peace process.

Simultaneously with Indonesia’s discreet diplomacy efforts, representatives from Myanmar’s government and neighbouring countries met in New Delhi last month in a confidential attempt to resolve the Myanmar crisis. These discussions included representatives from neighbouring nations, such as India and China, alongside think-tanks from Myanmar itself, reports Bangkok Post.

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With a Bachelor's Degree in English, Jenn has plenty of experience writing and editing on different topics. After spending many years teaching English in Thailand, Jenn has come to love writing about Thai culture and the experience of being an ex-pat in Thailand. During long holidays, she travels to North of Thailand just to have Khao Soi!

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