Indonesia: ASEAN Can Only Steam Forward If Able to Ensure Solution in Myanmar
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi stated that ASEAN could only steam forward at full power if leaders could ensure a peaceful and lasting solution in Myanmar which remains in crisis after a military coup two years ago.
“Indonesia’s chairmanship has worked hard to push for a unified solution,” Retno said in her opening remarks at the ASEAN Foreign Ministerial Meeting at the ASEAN Secretariat, South Jakarta, on Monday, September 4, 2023.
Myanmar has been wracked by violence and economic turmoil since the military seized power in a 2021 coup. The country's military Tatmadaw launched a crackdown on its opponents.
Since late 2021, ASEAN has banned the Myanmar military junta from attending high-level meetings until significant progress is made on the five-point consensus. Myanmar's foreign minister did not attend today’s meeting.
Retno said the ministers' meeting would conduct a comprehensive review of the peace plan implementation. The results will be a recommendation for the ASEAN leaders during the 43rd summit which commences on September 5.
The consensus reached by ASEAN, including the Myanmar junta, calls for an immediate end to all violence, constructive dialogue among all parties, the appointment of an ASEAN chair's special envoy, humanitarian assistance, and a visit to Myanmar by the ASEAN special envoy.
In an exclusive interview with Tempo on Tuesday, August 29, Retno said ASEAN would not review the agreed points but its implementation results as a number of parties questioned the effectiveness of the peace plan.
Minister Retno said that during the nine months of ASEAN chairmanship, Indonesia has been quietly making efforts to resolve the crisis. Indonesia has held some 145 meetings with all stakeholders, including the Myanmar junta, the National Unity Government (NUG), and ethnic groups, including those personally attended by the foreign minister.
In addition to Myanmar, the bloc meeting would discuss long-term priorities, strengthening of institutions and partnerships, as well as the role in the dynamics of the Indo-Pacific region which has recently become the center of major tensions between the two superpowers, the United States and China.
DANIEL A. FAJRI
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