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Let envoy Prak Sokhonn visit: PM
PHNOM PENH--Prime Minister Hun Sen in his role as ASEAN Chair has urged the leader of the Myanmar junta to facilitate a visit by the bloc’s special envoy and to end the violence.
At a virtual meeting on Wednesday, Hun Sen expressed concern over the violence while urging State Administration Council (SAC) head Min Aung Hlaing to adhere to the five-point consensus agreed at the ASEAN leaders’ meeting in April last year.
The Prime Minister said efforts to implement the agreement were the priority.
Hun Sen asked the Myanmar military to facilitate a visit by Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn, who has been appointed as the ASEAN Chair’s special envoy.
Hun Sen urged all parties in Myanmar as well as the military to exercise restraint and end violence to lead to a peaceful solution. He also requested full cooperation in supporting ASEAN’s efforts to ensure the delivery of humanitarian relief to the people of Myanmar who need help the most.
Chheang Vannarith, president of the Asian Vision Institute (AVI) and a public policy analyst, said that throughout the meetings, the Cambodian side has been trying to achieve implementation of the five points but the military has shown no sincere and cooperative signs.
“If the junta does not honor Cambodia’s words and effectively implement what it has agreed upon, it is impossible to have a political representation from Myanmar at the upcoming ASEAN meetings,” Vannarith said.
Sebastian Strangio, journalist and independent analyst covering Southeast Asia, said the latest meeting between the Cambodian Prime Minister and the junta leader had shown the priority of the ASEAN five-point consensus and of the junta being unable to attend ASEAN meetings until there is progress on the consensus.
“The question is how Cambodia chooses to define progress,” he said.
“Even assuming that the five-point consensus offers a viable way forward, the military junta has shown little interest in implementing it. So, we'll have to see what, if any, concessions the military junta makes, and whether Phnom Penh views these as sufficient.”
Strangio believes the situation in Myanmar is complicating the attempt of ASEAN, especially Cambodia as Chair, to help find a solution to the crisis while the parties involved are not willing to negotiate.
Vannarith, too, believes the Myanmar military is controlling the situation while Cambodia is putting as much effort as possible to help Myanmar help itself. “The ball is in the court of the junta,” he said.
The situation in Myanmar has remained precarious following the visit by Hun Sen to Naypyidaw from Jan. 7 to 8 to meet the junta chief as fighting continues.
Khin Zaw Win, who is working on policy advocacy on communal issues as director of the Tampadipa Institute in the Myanmar city of Yangon, said there had been 350 armed clashes and 31 air attacks in the last two months. Up to 80 percent of the clashes were between junta troops and the local People’s Defense Force, which had led to the death of many civilians.
Zaw Win describes the junta’s behavior as “soft stonewalling.”
“The rest of the world is not dealing with a normal, legitimate government or regime. The SAC is more of a criminal gang. They have been saying one thing in front and doing a different thing at the back,” he said.
Asked about the recent meeting between Hun Sen and Min Aung Hlaing, Zaw Win said he doubted whether the junta chief had been able to comprehend what was said in the meeting.
“Does Min Aung Hlaing really understand what is said at a meeting? All the generals have poor language skills,” Zaw Win said.
The junta did not comprehend international norms of behavior, and their aim was to completely dominate and control all power. “They are helped in this by leaders like Vladimir Putin,” he said.