Asean ministers plan Myanmar talks Tuesday

Asean ministers plan Myanmar talks Tuesday

Myanmar foreign minister also asked to attend as group seeks way out of crisis

A woman takes part in a protest at the University of Yangon on Thursday. (Reuters Photo)
A woman takes part in a protest at the University of Yangon on Thursday. (Reuters Photo)

Asean foreign ministers are preparing to hold a special meeting on Tuesday to discuss the political crisis in Myanmar, Asean diplomatic sources said on Friday.

It would be the first such meeting of the 10-member group since Myanmar military ousted the elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi on Feb 1.

Most Asean countries have expressed readiness to attend the meeting, with Myanmar’s military-appointed Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin also asked to attend, the sources said.

The meeting is likely to be a hybrid form with some attending in person and others joining virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to one of the sources. An in-person meeting would be held in Jakarta, where Asean has its secretariat.

Asean members attending the meeting may have differing positions on the post-coup detention of Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as a new general election the military has promised to hold after a one-year state of emergency.

In Myanmar, where demonstrations have been held daily in opposition to the coup, some protesters are critical of an Asean meeting involving a foreign minister appointed by the junta.

Wunna Maung Lwin also served as foreign minister in the military administration led by Thein Sein prior to 2015. When Aung San Suu Kyi came to power after the election in 2015, she took on the foreign minister’s role herself.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi has led efforts to lobby for the Asean meeting. She has visited other member countries in recent weeks, including Brunei, which currently holds the Asean chair, and Singapore.

In Thailand on Wednesday, she held three-way talks with her Thai counterpart Don Pramudwinai and Wunna Maung Lwin.


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