The Association of Southeast Asian Nations or the Asean on Saturday said that Myanmar’s military chief would be excluded from an upcoming summit of the group from October 26 to October 28. The rebuke, a rare reaction from the group, came as concerns about the commitment of the military junta in Myanmar to defuse the ongoing bloody crisis in that country, news agencies reported.
Discussions to exclude Myanmar from the summit have been ongoing within Asean and the foreign ministers of the member states met on Friday regarding the issue. However, on Saturday, Brunei, which is the current chair of Asean, issued a statement confirming the exclusion of Min Aung Hlain, Myanmar’s military chief.
Rather, the group has decided “to invite a non-political representative from Myanmar,” after some member nations called for giving “space to Myanmar to restore its internal affairs and return to normalcy,” news agency AFP reported, quoting Asean’s statement.
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The rebuke came after the group had insisted that Myanmar was showing an “insufficient progress” regarding the implementation of the five-point consensus agreed between the two parties in April this year. Also, the tensions increased after Myanmar’s junta refused firmly, the group’s request to allow a regional special envoy to meet all parties concerned to defuse the situation in the country, which would also include ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
This was not the first time Asean had expressed displeasure and concerns over Myanmar’s commitment to the agreement. Previously on several other occasions Asean had pushed for the military regime to enhance cooperation in addressing the crisis in that country.
Earlier in February this year, the military ousted the democratically elected government in Myanmar citing voter frauds in the country’s general elections last year. Following the coup, Suu Kyi has since then been detained along with several other leaders of the party.
Several protests erupted in the country following the military takeover, to which the regime has allegedly reacted with violence. Killings and internal displacement of people increased due to the violence that ensued, according to several organisations including the United Nations. Meanwhile, the UN and the international community, including countries like the US, have stated in the past that ASEAN should deal with the unfolding political crisis in Myanmar due to its proximity.
Previously the UN has repeatedly expressed concerns about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the country due to the political events and also aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
(With agency inputs)
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