ASEAN To Discuss Excluding Myanmar Junta Leader From Summit
Southeast Asian foreign ministers will discuss excluding Myanmar junta chief Mr. Min Aung Hlaing from an upcoming summit at a meeting on Friday, as pressure builds on the ruling military to comply with an agreed peace roadmap.
The meeting comes as the junta ruled out allowing a regional envoy to meet deposed leader Ms, Aung San Suu Kyi, who is on trial on multiple charges since her elected government was overthrown in a Feb. 1 coup.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) agreed on a five-point consensus with Mr. Min Aung Hlaing in April, but several members of the bloc have criticised the junta’s failure to implement the plan, which includes dialogue among all parties, humanitarian access and an end to hostilities.
Friday’s previously unscheduled virtual meeting will be hosted by ASEAN chair Brunei, according to multiple sources based in ASEAN member countries, who include diplomats and government officials.
Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia had indicated that they were in favour of excluding Mr. Min Aung Hlaing from the Oct. 26-28 virtual summit, but were pushing for a consensus among nine ASEAN states, three of the sources said. Myanmar is the 10th ASEAN member.
A spokesman for Thailand’s foreign ministry confirmed a meeting would be held on Friday.
Philippine Foreign Minister Teodoro Locsin on Thursday voiced support for excluding Min Aung Hlaing from future summits, adding that ASEAN could no longer afford to take a neutral stance on Myanmar.
We can continue keeping Myanmar at a distance but if we relent in any way, our credibility as a real regional organisation disappears, Mr. Locsin said in an interview with Australian think-tank Lowy Institute.