Rohingya row stymies caucus
A regional political meeting has been unable to proceed for the third consecutive year after Indonesia and Myanmar rowed about the inclusion of the Rohingya crisis on the agenda on Tuesday, according to the secretary-general of the Asean Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (Aipa).
Isra Sunthornvut said the row flared up when the Indonesian committee proposed including the Rohingya issue as the eighth item on the agenda.
"They insisted that if they had been compelled to approve remaining issues without the Rohingya problem, they would have walked out of this meeting," he told the Bangkok Post, adding that the Indonesian delegation is attending other meetings normally.
Mr Isra said the Myanmar committee then voiced opposition to the Indonesian proposal, saying that "[the Rohingya issue] is not related to the other issues on the agenda.
"The Myanmar committee rejected similar Indonesian proposals in the previous meetings held in the Philippines and Singapore. This is the third year that the dispute has flared up."
He added that Chuan Leekpai, the parliament president and president of Aipa, "wished to provide a platform for debate on the Rohingya crisis. However, bilateral discussions and meeting breaks could not end the deadlock".
A source, who asked not to be named, said the Indonesian committee's demand was motivated by its internal affairs.
"Indonesia has the world's largest Muslim population. If they had succeeded in raising the Rohingya issue in the meeting, it would have been popular domestically as a show of support for the refugees."