Myanmar has been in chaos since the military coup two years ago. Indonesia has a key role to play in efforts to bring the country back to democracy. The island state calls for an end to the violence.
The Indonesian government has called for an end to violence in Myanmar ahead of the start of the Asean Summit in Labuan Bajo on the island of Flores. The ongoing crisis in former Burma following the military coup two years ago is one of the focal points of talks on Wednesday and Thursday. Ten countries belong to the Association of Southeast Asian States, including Myanmar. However, representatives of the military junta are not invited to the meeting.
The bloc has long tried to mediate in the conflict that broke out after de facto Prime Minister Aung San Suu Kyi was ousted – so far without success. The Nobel Peace Prize winner was sentenced to more than 30 years in prison by a junta court for alleged crimes. The country descends into chaos and violence. Armed groups fight against the military, which tries to brutally crush any resistance.
At the beginning of the week, an Asean convoy, in which two diplomats from Indonesia and Singapore were traveling, came under fire in Myanmar, Indonesian President Joko Widodo told journalists on Tuesday. The attack will not weaken his country’s and Asean’s determination to bring peace to Myanmar, Widodo said in the fishing village of Labuan Bajo. “Stop the violence because it only harms civilians and does no one any good.”
The world’s largest island nation, Indonesia, is chairing the ASEAN alliance of states this year. The country has long played a key role in trying to persuade Myanmar’s generals to return to democracy.
However, critics accuse Asean of not taking tough enough action against Myanmar’s leadership. In April 2021, the member states agreed on a five-point plan to solve the crisis. Among other things, this provides for an immediate end to the violence and a dialogue between all parties to the conflict. To date, however, the junta has shown no will to fulfill the plan.
Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said the bloc must now focus on “real pressure tactics” to bring the junta led by Gen. Min Aung Hlaing to the negotiating table. Only strong measures, such as joint sanctions, would make it clear to the generals “that ignoring the ASEAN could be accompanied by increasingly severe consequences”.
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