Myanmar junta warns ASEAN against peace plan ‘pressure’

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YANGON – Myanmar’s junta has cautioned a regional bloc attempting to defuse the country’s political turmoil that establishing a timetable for a peace plan could have “bad consequences.”

According to a local monitoring group, Myanmar has been in chaos since a coup in February last year, with more than 2,300 people killed in the military’s savage crackdown on dissent.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has led futile efforts to end the bloodshed.

On Thursday, the EU’s foreign ministers convened in Jakarta to discuss the problem. The junta did not send a representative after declining an invitation to send a non-political individual.

The junta’s foreign affairs ministry claimed late Thursday that a peace plan negotiated by Myanmar and ASEAN last year — which the latter has mostly ignored — was a “process.”

“Inserting additional pressure by establishing a timeline will have more bad consequences than beneficial consequences.”

It also charged ASEAN of “discrimination” for not inviting the junta-appointed foreign minister to the summit in Jakarta.

ASEAN has expressed “grave concern” about rising human rights violations, including the execution of four inmates in July.

For the second year in a row, Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing has been denied an invitation to an ASEAN leaders’ conference next month, while Myanmar’s top diplomat Wunna Maung Lwin has been barred from ministerial discussions in February and August.

The ASEAN strategy of “constructive engagement” is “off the table,” according to a junta-controlled newspaper earlier this month.
“ASEAN appears to be behaving as a lapdog for the United States.”

The junta blames anti-coup fighters for over 3,900 civilian deaths.

Source: AFP

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