Engage with all, Asean chair urged

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has stressed that the Asean chairman needs to engage with all parties concerned about the crisis in Myanmar.

He made the point after receiving a video call from his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen on Friday.

Cambodia is the current Asean chair under the bloc’s rotating arrangement and Hun Sen has just returned from a trip to Myanmar where he held talks with junta chief General Min Aung Hlaing.

Lee, who reaffirmed Singapore’s support for Cambodia’s Asean chairmanship and thanked Hun Sen for the briefing on his recent trip, noted that “there had not been any significant progress” in the implementation of the Asean roadmap adopted in April on Myanmar.

Until there was significant progress, Asean should stick to the decision by its leaders in October last year to only invite a “non-political representative” from Myanmar to its meetings, said Lee.

“Any discussion to revise the Asean Leaders’ decision had to be based on new facts,” Lee was quoted as saying in a Foreign Affairs Ministry’s statement released on Saturday.

Since seizing power on Feb 1 last year, the Myanmar military has had to contend with increasing opposition, which has morphed into armed resistance in various parts of the country.

Reports say the military has responded with an iron fist to opponents with tactics that have included aerial bombardments.

Asean’s roadmap for Myanmar known as the “Five-Point Consensus” calls for an immediate cessation of violence, the provision of humanitarian aid and constructive dialogue among all parties concerned which an Asean special envoy would help facilitate. — The Straits Times/ANN

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