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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Indonesia Seeks Special Meeting Between ASEAN and Myanmar Junta Leader

This Week

Indonesia hopes to hold a special meeting between ASEAN leaders and the head of Myanmar’s military junta after a lack of progress toward a return to democratic rule.

Kyodo News reports that a diplomatic source said Friday that 2023 ASEAN Chair, Indonesia, is seeking to hold the meeting two years after the military coup that has led to major civil unrest in Myanmar.

Indonesia has dispatched a senior military officer to Myanmar to offer its expertise in the transition from military rule to a democratic government, with President Joko Widodo planning to visit the country in the near future.

Observers believe that a two-day meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers chaired by Indonesia could mean that the Association is likely to meet with Myanmar’s junta leader, Min Aung Hlaing.

While no date has been set, Indonesia plans to host a regional summit in May and September as this year’s ASEAN chair.

Following the coup, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations excluded the junta’s leader and junta-appointed officials from its meetings, drawing up a five-point plan for peace.

But Myanmar has failed to implement most of the steps laid out in the five-point consensus, even going as far as rejecting the plan.

Referring to a review of the consensus held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on 11 November, Myanmar issued an official news release stating that it “categorically rejects and dissociates itself from the said review and decision made by the nine ASEAN leaders.”

Myanmar was informed last year it risked a total ban from ASEAN meetings if it did not begin to make progress, however, foreign ministers from Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam met with Myanmar’s junta-appointed foreign minister in December 2022 at what the group called a “non-ASEAN” meeting in Thailand.

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