Controversial meeting of Cambodian prime minister with Burmese junta leader

By going on an official trip, Friday January 7 and Saturday January 8, to Naypyidaw, at the invitation of the putschist general Min Aung Hlaing, the Cambodian Prime Minister, Hun Sen, became the first foreign leader to visit Burma since the coup d ‘State of 1is February 2021. An honor that many, within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), would have passed, since Cambodia has assumed, since December 29, 2021, the one-year presidency of this grouping of ten countries. Especially since Asean had excluded Min Aung Hlaing from its summit on October 26, 2021. “It’s cowboy diplomacy », tweeted the APHR (Asean parliamentarians for human rights), the network which brings together the most progressive of current and former parliamentarians from countries in the region and whose members have criticized a “unilateral” decision which torpedo past efforts.

Hun Sen had announced his trip several weeks ago, specifying that it took place within the framework of bilateral relations. He is accompanied by his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prak Sokhonn, who is also ASEAN’s special envoy for Burma. However, the former envoy of ASEAN under the previous presidency, that of Brunei, had always refused to go to Naypyidaw as long as the five-point consensus adopted, in Jakarta, in April 2021, between Min Aung Hlaing and the nine other leaders, would not be respected: in this case, the cessation of violence and the access of the Asean emissary to ” all parties involved » – that is to say, the Burmese civilian leaders imprisoned since the coup d’etat of 1is February, former State Councilor Aung San Suu Kyi and former President Win Myint, both sentenced in December 2021 to several years in prison.

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Hun Sen’s visit to Naypyidaw sparked an endless stream of criticism, cartoons and abuse on the Burmese internet and on his own Facebook page. He spoke for more than two hours on Friday with the Burmese general, described by his opponents as new. “Butcher of Naypyidaw”. « Hun Sen’s decision to meet unilaterally, without preconditions, with the leaders of an abusive military junta, which has committed massacres and crimes against humanity against the people of Myanmar, will only confer on the junta undeserved international legitimacy, while demoralizing those who struggle to restore respect for human rights and democracy in the country », Phil Robertson, the representative of Human Rights Watch in Bangkok, reacted on Friday.

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Controversial meeting of Cambodian prime minister with Burmese junta leader

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