Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen confirmed Tuesday he had invited Myanmar’s junta leader to a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) if there was progress on a peace plan agreed last year.
Hun Sen, ASEAN’s chairman, said he would speak to army chief Min Aung Hlaing via virtual on Wednesday.
It is known that since their January 7 meeting in Myanmar, ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been sentenced to four years in prison and military aircraft have been deployed in the operation.
Min Aung Hlaing led a coup in Myanmar last year and ASEAN made the surprise move by banning its junta from attending key meetings because of its failure to respect ASEAN’s five-point “consensus” that includes a cessation of hostilities and allowing dialogue.
“He (Hun Sen) said that he had invited HE (His Excellency) Min Aung Hlaing to attend the ASEAN summit if there was progress in the unanimously agreed five-point implementation,” Hun Sen’s Facebook page summarized a call with Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
“But if not, he should send non-political representatives to the ASEAN meeting.”
As asean’s new chairman, Cambodia has indicated it wants to get involved instead of isolating the junta, but Hun Sen has been pressured by several ASEAN leaders, including from Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, not to budge on the deal, which is backed by the United Nations and the United States.
The overthrow of Suu Kyi’s elected government in Myanmar has been a setback for ASEAN and its efforts to present itself as a credible and integrated bloc.
Hun Sen’s visit to Myanmar raised concerns within the group that it could demonstrate ASEAN’s recognition of the generals, who have overseen bloody events against pro-democracy forces.
It was revealed that myanmar and Hun Sen last week denounced the stance of Malaysia’s foreign minister, calling him arrogant for voicing concern over his actions to meet with the junta chief.
Malaysian Foreign Minister Ismail Sabri had told Hun Sen that there was an urgent need to defuse Myanmar’s situation and to immediately release Suu Kyi and all Myanmar political prisoners.
Asean consensus includes stopping attacks and giving asean special envoys full access to all parties to the conflict.