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ASEAN Wants Talks With Myanmar Military To Work Or Myanmar Will Get More Sanctions From The European Union

June 6, 2021

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is set to hold talks with Senior General Min Aung Hlaing as Myanmar enters its fifth month of crippling unrest since the military seized power on February 1, amid fears of more European Union sanctions.

Since the coup, Myanmar has been in chaos with its economy paralyzed; more than 800 people have been killed in a brutal crackdown on dissent, according to local monitoring groups.

Brunei’s second minister for foreign affairs Erywan Pehin Yusof and ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi are in the Myanmar capital Naypyidaw, a senior official who declined to be identified told AFP.

The envoys will meet Min Aung Hlaing on Friday morning, the official added, and military representatives told journalists that more information would be released shortly about the meeting.

ASEAN, which includes Myanmar, has led diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis, but the group operates based on non-interference in each other’s affairs and acts on consensus. The effectiveness of its initiatives has been questioned.

There was no immediate word on whether the envoys would also meet with leaders of the National Unity Government (NUG), which has largely ousted parliament members from Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy.

“ASEAN diplomacy is doomed from the beginning,” Myanmar analyst David Mathieson said.

“This visit will likely lead to the West showing Naypyidaw a clear sign that its coup is working.”

Recently, the NUG announced an amendment to the country’s citizenship laws that would allow for the recognition of Muslim Rohingya as citizens, saying it would “build a prosperous and democratic federal union where all ethnic groups of the Union can live together peacefully.”

In 2017, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fled the country following a brutal military crackdown that is now being investigated as a possible genocide. Aung San Suu Kyi and her elected government had previously defended the actions, even traveling to the Hague to testify.

Peter Maurer, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), was the most senior leader of an international organization to visit Naypyidaw when he met Min Aung Hlaing.

Maurer said the people of Myanmar need assistance and protection urgently.

In his remarks, he discussed that the use of force during security operations and called for better humanitarian access to conflict areas and the resumption of Red Cross prison visits, according to the statement.

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