ASEAN ministers meet as Myanmar conflict impacts bloc’s unity

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asean ministers meet as myanmar conflict impacts bloc's unity (2)

The foreign ministers of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), a political and economic union of 10 member states in Southeast Asia, held a meeting on Wednesday to address an intensifying conflict in Myanmar, a Southeast Asian nation of more than 100 ethnic groups. 

The meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations took place in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. The meeting took place as doubts grew over ASEAN’s effectiveness to handle the conflict in army-ruled Myanmar. 

ASEAN agreed to establish peace in Myanmar in 2021. The top general of Myanmar’s military agreed to start inclusive dialogue to end the conflict in Myanmar. However, the peace process is yet to get off the ground. Now, Myanmar’s military rulers’ has refused to halt hostilities and start inclusive dialogue

Myanmar has been gripped by conflict since the military, led by army chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, seized power in February 2021. The military’s fierce crackdown on pro-democracy opponents led to an intensification of conflict. The military also arrested Aung San Suu Kyi and other members of the National League for Democracy.

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Subsequently, tens of thousands of people joined the anti-coup protests. The military used violence to disperse the protesters.  Later on, the United States, the European Union and Canada imposed sanctions on Min Aung Hlaing and several other senior generals. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) condemned the military’s violence against peaceful protesters.

In April 2021, Min Aung Hlaing travelled to Jakarta to hold a meeting with Southeast Asian leaders. He signed a five-point plan to end the conflict in Myanmar.

Earlier this year, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada announced new sanctions against the military. The new sanctions also targeted the officials from Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE).

ASEAN barred the military from its summits because it failed to implement the “five-point consensus”, as agreed by the military leader.

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