Limited progress in Myanmar peace plan leaves Asean ministers ‘deeply disappointed’

PHNOM PENH – Asean foreign ministers have registered their disappointment that plans to resolve the political crisis in Myanmar have hardly made progress, amid a lack of commitment by the country’s authorities to implement a peace plan.

The ministers, in a joint communique issued on Friday (Aug 5), also proposed that Asean leaders at their summit in November take stock of the military junta’s progress in implementing the Five-Point Consensus, in order to decide on the best way forward.

The document said the ministers, who met on Wednesday, extensively discussed recent developments in Myanmar, including the execution of four opposition activists last month.

The ministers said they “were deeply disappointed by the limited progress in and lack of commitment” of the Naypyitaw authorities to the timely and complete implementation of the Five-Point Consensus.

“We recommended that the Asean Summit assesses the progress towards the implementation of the Five-Point Consensus by the State Administration Council to guide the decision on the next steps,” they added.

This is the second time in a row that an Asean joint communique, which usually avoids referring to the domestic situation in a member country, has devoted a paragraph to the political situation in Myanmar, and the first time it has used such strident language.

The consensus was drawn up in April last year to bring an end to the chaos following the February 2021 military coup that has killed more than 2,000 people.

Its five points are: an immediate end to violence in the country, dialogue among all parties concerned, the appointment of an Asean special envoy to facilitate mediation, the provision of humanitarian assistance by Asean, and a visit by the special envoy to Myanmar to meet all parties.

“We reiterated our commitment to peace and stability in the region and expressed Asean’s readiness to assist Myanmar in a positive, peaceful and constructive manner, including in the delivery of humanitarian assistance,” the communique said.

“We agreed that the special envoy of the Asean chair on Myanmar shall engage all Myanmar relevant stakeholders at the earliest.”

The communique also addressed the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The Asean ministers said that they continue to reaffirm their respect for sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity.

Reiterating calls for compliance with international law and the United Nations Charter, the communique said that the leaders underlined the importance of an immediate cessation of hostilities and the creation of an enabling environment for the peaceful resolution of conflict.

The ministers also called for “the facilitation of rapid, safe and unhindered access to humanitarian assistance for those in need in Ukraine, and for the protection of civilians, humanitarian personnel and persons in vulnerable situations”, the document said.