Joint task force formed amid border unrest

The kingdom and conflict-torn Myanmar will create a task force to boost humanitarian assistance to people displaced by fighting and could expand that to include other aid agencies, Thailand’s foreign ministry said.

Thailand hopes the plan will lead to constructive engagement between military-ruled Myanmar, the Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean) regional bloc, and the international community, it said in a statement yesterday.

The United Nations estimates more than 300,000 people have been displaced by fighting since the rebel offensive started in late October, among more than 2 million forced to flee since a 2021 coup and crackdown that triggered a backlash against the junta.

“The Myanmar side will soon send a working team to Thailand to discuss this matter,” Thailand’s foreign ministry said of the aid task force. “If the initial phase of implementation is successful, other aid agencies may be invited to have a role in the future.”

The decision was made during discussions between junta-appointed foreign minister Than Swe and Thai counterpart Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara at the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation meeting in China.

Myanmar’s foreign ministry said in a statement that the meeting took place but made no mention of the humanitarian task force. A spokesperson for the junta could not immediately be reached for comment.

The junta has been barred from attending top-level Asean events over its failure to implement a peace plan it agreed to after the coup. — Reuters

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