Thailand violates ASEAN stand, invites Myanmar junta for summit
Bangkok, (EFE).- Thailand’s ministry of external affairs has called an informal meeting on Monday on the political crisis in Myanmar which would attended by representatives of the Burmese military junta, a move that has irked regional allies such as Indonesia and Malaysia.
According to a ministry statement published on Sunday night, the hurriedly organized event has the stated objective of backing ASEAN’s (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) efforts to resolve the situation in Myanmar, which has been embroiled in a deep crisis since the February 2021 military coup.
Thai foreign minister and deputy prime minister Don Pramudwinai is hosting the meeting, which expects the presence of high-level representatives of Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Laos, and Vietnam, apart from the delegate of the Myanmar military junta.
Thailand, which is being run by an interim government since the May elections – in which the opposition decimated the ruling pro-military coalition – said that the meeting would propose dialog to seek peaceful solutions for a country which shared a long border with the hosts.
“Thailand wants to see cessation of violence which will eventually lead to peace and stability inside Myanmar,” said the statement, while stressing the event did not amount to a formal ASEAN meeting, a platform which Myanmar has been banned from attending.
However, this strategic step by Thailand, which has a special envoy for Myanmar and has previously launched other discussions with the junta’s representatives, clashes with the stance of other ASEAN members such as Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, which have resisted dialog with the military leadership.
In separate messages, both Indonesia and Malaysia turned down Bangkok’s invitation to the meet and said it was important to back the current ASEAN policy on the Myanmar crisis, which bans members of the military junta from the bloc’s high level meetings.
Meanwhile the National Unity Government of Myanmar, an opposition group that claims to be the legitimate ruler of the country and is formed by politicians and activists opposed to the military, has also condemned the initiative.
The NUG foreign ministry said in a statement on Saturday that inviting the “illegitimate” junta to the discussion would not contribute to resolving the political crisis in Myanmar.
The military coup that ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi and put an end to a decade of transition towards democracy, triggered a spiral of violence as new civilian militias have exacerbated a long-standing conflict with ethnic minorities.
More than 3,650 people have been killed since the coup in a brutal crackdown by security forces, according to the latest figures from nonprofit Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners.