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  |   Politics


Myanmar coup: Malaysia calls for more ASEAN countries to engage with junta opponents.

Ron Przysucha (US Department of State) / Wikimedia Commons

The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN grouping has pushed the junta regime in Myanmar to adhere to the peace plan since its generals seized power in a coup last year. Malaysia recently called for its fellow ASEAN countries to engage with Myanmar’s shadow government.

Malaysian foreign minister Saifuddin Abdullah said his country wants a clear end goal in the peace process in Myanmar and has called for fellow ASEAN states to engage with the junta’s opponents, the shadow National Unity Government.

Saifuddin added that the bloc’s special envoy from Myanmar must have a longer tenure to be more effective, as the group has barred the junta from attending its summits.

During his visit to Thailand, Saifuddin stressed the importance of ASEAN members showing support for the people of Myanmar and engaging with opposition groups that were formed after the generals staged a coup, including the shadow government.

Saifuddin told reporters the engagement is “one-sided” as the group has only engaged with the junta.

“Some of us brought it to the table that if ASEAN cannot do it alone then we will probably have to engage some of our ASEAN dialogue partners,” said Saifuddin, without naming which countries.

The junta has urged ASEAN countries not to engage with its opponents that it has labeled “terrorists.”

The 10-member bloc has also expressed frustration toward the junta over its failure to comply with the peace agreement established a few months after the coup, including multi-party dialogue, an immediate stop to the violence, and humanitarian aid access.

The bloc’s special regional envoy, Cambodian deputy prime minister Prak Sokhonn said Saturday, following the bloc’s meeting the previous week, said he does not intend to give up on Myanmar, even as there does not seem to be a will from either side to give up their fight.

Sokhonn also said the junta’s execution of four activists linked to their opponents dampened any hopes for peace and the ASEAN grouping agreed that without future progress, its stance on Myanmar will be reconsidered.

The junta issued a statement Friday last week saying that ASEAN must not interfere in the regime’s affairs or engage with its opponents.

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