ASEAN meets at the top without Burma

Nine heads of state and a blue screen, crossed out with the word “Myanmar” (official name of Burma), for the missing person. The videoconference summit of the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean, comprising ten countries) began on Tuesday, October 26 under the aegis of the Sultan of Brunei, while the Burmese putschist general Min Aung Hlaing spoke was uninvited following a collective decision taken on October 15. It is a sign of the change of tone within this group that the Philippine Minister of Foreign Affairs, Teodoro Locsin, had described at the beginning of the month as “A bunch of guys always agreeing with each other on unimportant things”.

The « bunch of guys »This time marked the occasion, by devoting to “Developments in Burma” A whole paragraph of the final communiqué of the meetings on Tuesday, in which the American President, Joe Biden, participated at the end of the day for the Asean-United States summit. The press release calls on the Burmese authorities in particular to fulfill the commitments made during the “five-point consensus” of the April 2021 ASEAN in Jakarta: the end of the violence and the access of the ASEAN envoy to the country and To ” all parties involved “- that is to say the Burmese civilians leaders imprisoned since the coup d’etat of 1is February, former State Councilor Aung San Suu Kyi, and former President Win Myint.

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The Djakarta summit was “ an Asean effort to help a family member “, Recalled the Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, Tuesday, in front of his counterparts, adding that” unfortunately, the help given by this family was not well received by the Myanmar military “. In an interview with Reuters on October 19, he explained that his country had ” fully supported The idea of ​​not inviting General Min. ” We are the ones who suggested it », He clarified. Supported by the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore, the initiative was endorsed by the Sultan of Brunei, facing the “soft underbelly” made up of four other members, in this case Laos and Vietnam, both led by parties. Communists, the Cambodia of Hun Sen, who threw the political opposition in prison, and the Thailand of General Prayuth Chan-o-cha, perpetrator of a coup in 2014.

“Progress has been slow”

It’s not “Through the fault of Asean” that the country is not present at the top, even reacted, Tuesday, Hun Sen, but that of “The Burmese army [qui] did not cooperate with Asean ”. Phnom Penh takes over the presidency of Asean in 2022 and its role could be decisive in the pursuit of a firm position vis-à-vis this Burmese junta. “Progress has been slow. This has real consequences for the people of Myanmar and for the credibility of ASEAN as a rules-based organization ”Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Tuesday about the situation in Burma. Burma offers the gloomy prospect of a “failed state” within the region, tipping towards civil war and a persistent epidemic focus, while generating a growing number of refugees, and an increase in the trafficking of arms and drugs. .

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ASEAN meets at the top without Burma