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Cambodia PM welcomes Myanmar junta at ASEAN if progress is achieved

FILE PHOTO: Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen attends a celebrations marking the 66th anniversary of the country's independence from France, in central Phnom Penh, Cambodia, November 9, 2019. REUTERS/Samrang Pring/File Photo

Hun Sen, Cambodia’s prime minister, said he invited Myanmar’s junta head to an ASEAN meeting on the condition that progress be made on a peace plan he agreed to last year.

The news: Hun Sen, the current ASEAN chair, said he will speak with military head Min Aung Hlaing on Wednesday via video chat, stressing that since their face-to-face meeting earlier this month, ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi had been convicted and military aircraft had been deployed in operations.

A military policeman patrols outside the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) secretariat building, before the ASEAN leaders’ meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, April 24, 2021. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan
  • Last year, Min Aung Hlaing conducted a coup in Myanmar, and ASEAN unexpectedly barred the junta from key meetings for failing to implement a five-point ASEAN “agreement” on ending hostilities and permitting dialogue.
FILE PHOTO: Commander-in-Chief of Myanmar’s armed forces, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing attends the IX Moscow conference on international security in Moscow, Russia June 23, 2021. Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

What they’re saying: “He (Hun Sen) said that he had invited HE (His Excellency) Min Aung Hlaing to attend the ASEAN summit if there was progress in the implementation of the five points agreed unanimously,” said a statement on Hun Sen’s Facebook page, summarising his call on Tuesday with Malaysia’s prime minister.

  • “But if not, he must send a non-political representative to ASEAN meetings.”
  • Cambodia has stated that it wants to interact with the junta rather than isolate it, but Hun Sen has been pressured by numerous ASEAN leaders this month, including those from Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore, to stick to the deal.

For several countries, Hun Sen’s travel to Myanmar on January 7 was a delicate matter since it may have been seen as ASEAN recognition of the generals.

The ASEAN agreement calls for an end to offensives, the facilitation of a humanitarian response, and the full access of a special ASEAN envoy to all parties involved in the war.

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