ASEAN – Rather than the country’s military-appointed foreign minister, Cambodia‘s foreign ministry announced on Thursday that a non-political delegate from Myanmar had been asked to join a conference of Southeast Asian foreign ministers later this month.
Because of the lack of progress on an Asean peace plan, members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have not achieved an agreement on inviting Myanmar’s foreign minister, said Cambodia’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Chum Sounry. The 10-member bloc’s current chair is Cambodia, which will host the ministerial meeting on the 16th and 17th of February.
“Instead of leaving the seat unfilled,” Chum Sounry remarked that they urged Myanmar to be represented at the retreat by a non-political level. He also added that it was up to Myanmar to choose who the representative should be.
According to data published by the United Nations human rights office, Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military ousted an elected government a year ago, with roughly 1,500 people dead in the junta’s campaign on its opponents.
On many fronts, troops in the countryside are battling pro-democracy organizations, as well as ethnic minority forces.
According to a statement issued by Cambodia on Wednesday, the country is “extremely worried” about events in Myanmar, which include allegations of continuous violence and a worsening of the humanitarian situation in the country.
The statement read, “Asean member states underscore the need for the immediate cessation of violence and for all parties to exhibit extreme caution.”
Last year, Asean surprised the world by excluding the junta from important meetings because of its inability to adhere to the Asean peace agreement.
On January 7, Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen visited military commander Min Aung Hlaing in Myanmar, a visit that some regional neighbors were concerned may be seen as an endorsement of the junta.
Aung San Suu Kyi, who is now on trial, has been asked to be released and permitted to participate in a peace process as Asean chair Hun Sen has been under pressure to hold Min Aung Hlaing to the Asean peace deal.