TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi in an exclusive interview with Tempo recalled that the five points of the ASEAN consensus on the Myanmar crisis were agreed on through a series of debates that took place even before the ASEAN Summit began.
In the interview on Thursday, April 29, Minister Retno said the debates started at the working dinner event held one day prior to the summit where ASEAN members’ foreign affairs ministers met to discuss aspects that would be deliberated in the summit.
“The situation went smoothly as we did not want them not to be able to picture what to do during [the summit]. We discussed openly, debated, and so on for two and a half hours,” she said.
Retno recalled that members of the meeting had effortlessly agreed on several issues, especially when the discussions involved issues regarding special envoys and humanitarian aid.
She said talks about ceasing the violence in Myanmar started to spark debates as Indonesia believed ending the violence in Myanmar was an absolute requirement. These were what led to the five consensus.
Asked whether ASEAN members were hesitant to firmly put an end to the violence in Myanmar, the Retno prefered to maintain a positive attitude. She believed talks about that only needed to be triggered to later establish a clear stand.
The minister said the five points in the ASEAN consensus were taken to the summit, and that the representative of the Myanmar junta, Army General Min Aung Hlaing, was responsive toward what the meeting had yielded.
“This is only one initial step. An important step and we should be grateful for the positive result. But it doesn’t end there, the challenges ahead will only be bigger,” said Retno Marsudi.