Indonesia to Start Special Office to Tackle Myanmar Crisis

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi

As the Chair of ASEAN in 2023, the country will be setting up an office to specifically look at managing the ongoing crisis in Myanmar. 

On Wednesday, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi confirmed that she will be heading the office that would look at engaging with “all stakeholders” in Myanmar. She states that it is pivotal to facilitate a national dialogue to address the political crisis engulfing the ASEAN member state.

Ahead of the general election that the military junta in Naypyitaw says is on the cards this year, the foreign minister adds that Myanmar authorities should also allow humanitarian assistance to help the country rebuild itself.

“Indonesia will make every effort to help Myanmar to exit the political crisis,” she said.

The new ASEAN chair is expected to be more strict in dealing with the military government which has made little to no attempt to abide by the five-point consensus that was formed to enable immediate cessation of violence and foster inclusive political dialogue that included all parties affected by the February 2021 coup.

According to Ms. Marsudi, Indonesia is set to act in line with a decision made in November by ASEAN leaders at the group’s summit in Phnom Penh, which could potentially oust Myanmar from attending high-level ASEAN meetings if it doesn’t adapt the five-point consensus.

The foreign minister informs that ASEAN is “disappointed” with the lack of progress by the Myanmar military toward implementing the consensus. Ms. Marsudi also adds that ASEAN will continue its collaboration with a United Nations special envoy on Myanmar-related efforts.

She was insistent that the Myanmar issue will not hold ASEAN “hostage.”