Asean pact on Myanmar 'not working'

Asean pact on Myanmar 'not working'

Experts urge review of five-point plan

Experts have urged Asean to review its five-point consensus as it is doing little to resolve the crisis in Myanmar, while also asking the broader international community to do more to assist.

Jointly hosted with the Jakarta Post and Thai PBS, Asia News Network held a webinar called "Myanmar: Year Zero Plus One" to talk about the year following Aung San Suu Kyi's ouster by a military coup.

Kobsak Chutikul, a retired Thai ambassador, said Asean took a leading role in trying to resolve the crisis in Myanmar and the international community has followed Asean's lead. However, he said the situation should not be allowed to drag on by repeating the same steps from last year, especially regarding the five-point consensus.

Last April, Asean members reached an agreement on the plan that included the immediate cessation of violence, dialogue among all parties concerned, the appointment of a special Asean envoy, humanitarian assistance, and a visit to Myanmar by the special envoy and a delegation to meet with all relevant parties. Asean has so far made no progress in implementing the plan.

"Asean has to admit the current process is not working," Mr Kobsak said. "This consensus must have a deadline. Say if we do not achieve anything by July, we have to raise our game."

He said Asean should take action while other neighbouring countries and related stakeholders such as the European Union, Russia, Japan and the United States also need to pitch in.

International conferences "need to be convened by the UN secretary-general. This problem should not be left to Asean alone", he added.

António Guterres, the UN secretary-general, "should be the one going into Myanmar, so I think this is what we should look at in 2022".

Dr Sasa, international cooperation minister of the National Unity Government, said the international community should not hide behind Asean. Furthermore, it should be unanimous when consulting on the crisis.

"When the Asean chair goes to Myanmar, it's common sense that he needs to talk with other Asean members. Asean requires a single concrete voice," he said.

He said the people of Myanmar were losing hope in Asean as the consensus has been on the table for several months already, adding they should be included in formulating the plan for it to be truly effective.

"The consensus should state what strategy will be adopted for humanitarian aid," he added.

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