Myanmar’s military junta on Saturday said that it was ‘extremely disappointed’ over its leader Min Aung Hlaing’s exclusion from the upcoming ASEAN summit.
Naypyitaw [Myanmar] : The decision to exclude Hlaing from an upcoming October 26-28 summit was taken during an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) emergency meeting late on Friday, according to a statement from the current chair of the group Brunei, reported CNN. Brunei said in the statement a non-political figure from Myanmar would be invited to the summit after no consensus was reached for a political representative to attend.
Brunei’s Foreign Minister also said there had been “insufficient progress” on a roadmap to restore peace in Myanmar that the junta had agreed to with ASEAN in April, as well as “concerns” over the junta’s commitment to establishing constructive dialogue among all concerned parties, reported CNN.
“Some ASEAN member states recommended that ASEAN give space to Myanmar to restore its internal affairs and return to normalcy,” the statement said.
In response, Myanmar’s military-controlled foreign ministry said it was “extremely disappointed and strongly objected” to being excluded from the summit.
“The discussions and decision on Myanmar’s representation issue were done without consensus and was against the objectives of ASEAN,” the foreign ministry said.
Meanwhile, Singapore’s foreign ministry said Saturday it supported the exclusion of Myanmar’s junta, saying that it was a “difficult but necessary decision” to uphold ASEAN’s credibility, reported CNN.
“Singapore urges the Myanmar military authorities to cooperate with the special envoy to swiftly and fully implement the five-point consensus,” the ministry said in a statement.
The decision by ASEAN to exclude Myanmar’s junta marks a rare bold step for the consensus-driven bloc, which has traditionally favoured a policy of engagement and non-interference, reported CNN.
Min Aung Hlaing is the one who led a coup against an elected civilian government in February and detained the country’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi over alleged election irregularities.
In August, Min Aung Hlaing declared himself Prime Minister of a newly formed caretaker government. During an address to the nation on August 1, he repeated a pledge to hold elections by 2023.
More than 1,000 civilians have been killed by Myanmar security forces with thousands of others arrested, according to the United Nations, amid a crackdown on strikes and protests which has derailed the country’s tentative democracy and prompted international condemnation.