Stay the course, junta urged

SOUTH-EAST Asian ministers at the end of two-day talks in Indonesia urged Myanmar’s junta to implement a five-point peace plan agreed two years ago.

The plan was to create a path towards ending the country’s political crisis.

Indonesia – South-East Asia’s biggest economy – is the chair of Asean for 2023. The country will host the bloc’s annual leaders’ meetings later this year.

But the ministerial meeting in Jakarta has been overshadowed by the situation in Myanmar, which has been in turmoil since the army seized power in February 2021.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said Jakarta proposed an implementation plan to Asean members for the “five-point consensus” agreed with the junta in April 2021.

The agreement called for an end to violence and dialogue between the military and rebels.

“Broad support was received from all member states to this plan,” she told reporters at the end of talks yesterday.

She did not, however, provide details of when and how they hoped the agreement would be implemented.

“This plan is very important for Asean, in particular the chair, as a guidance to address the situation in Myanmar in a united manner.

“It shows a strong unity of Asean members to implement the 5PC.”

The junta remains an Asean member but the bloc barred it from top-level summits due to its failure to implement the plan that aims to achieve peace between the military and Myanmar’s anti-coup movement.

Myanmar’s foreign minister Than Swe – appointed this week – was not present at the Asean talks Friday.

The bloc declined to invite a junta member and only requested a “non-political representative” – an offer that was rejected by Naypyidaw.

Indonesian officials have said the lack of progress by Myanmar’s junta tests the bloc’s credibility who are working to find solutions to the crisis.

Jakarta has announced plans to set up a special envoy’s office under the foreign ministry to establish low-level dialogue with the junta. — AFP

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