Leaders’ Summit Excluded Myanmar

October 17, 2021

Myanmar Army General Min Aung Hlang Excluded from Leaders’ Summit

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, October 16- Leaders’ Summit Excluded Myanmar

Myanmar’s Army General Min Aung Hlang, will be excluded from an upcoming Association of southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit. General Min Aung led a coup against an elected civilian government in February.

The decision was taken by the foreign ministers from the ASEAN at an emergency meeting held on Friday night. It marks a rare move for the consensus-driven bloc, which traditionally favored a policy of non-interference in its member’s affairs.

Leaders’ Summit Excluded Myanmar on Saturday evening.

“Myanmar is extremely disappointed and strongly object to the outcomes of the emergency foreign ministers meeting, as the discussions and decision of Myanmar’s representation issue were done without consensus and was against the objectives of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).” Myanmar’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

“We can also see the interference from the other non-Asian countries,” Myanmar’s junta spokesperson general Zaw Min Tun told the BBC Burmese section.

“The move to exclude junta General Min Aung was a difficult, but necessary decision to uphold Asean’s credibility.” Singapore’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

An independent Myanmar analyst David Mathieson called this “a real slap in the face” in Asean’s terms.

Provisional Democracy

In April, ASEAN urged General Min Aung to end the violence in the country and to release the political prisoners. More than 1,000 civilians were killed by Myanmar’s security forces and left thousands of others arrested amid a crackdown on strikes, which has derailed the country’s tentative democracy, according to the United Nations.

Junta says the estimates of death tolls are exaggerated.

The BBC’s Jonathan Head says the move to exclude General Min Aung from the summit, which will be attended by US President Joe Biden and other world leaders, is a significant blow to the military government’s hopes of eventual international recognition.

The current ASEAN Chair Brunei said: “A non-political figure from Myanmar would be invited to the October 26-28 summit, after no consensus was reached for a political representative to attend.

Brunei said some member states had received requests from Myanmar’s National Unity Government, formed by the opponents of the junta, t attend the summit.

Leaders’ Summit Excluded Myanmar on Justified downgrade

A US state department official said on Friday that it was “completely justified and in fact totally appropriate” for Asean to downgrade Myanmar’s participation at the summit.

ASEAN has faced immense international pressure to take a tougher step against Myanmar for its ineffectiveness of dealing with leaders, subverting democracy, and intimidating political opponents.

“It would be up to the Myanmar Junta to decide on an alternative representation to the summit.” Malaysia’s foreign minister said.

Thorn in Asean’s side

Myanmar, mostly ruled by the military since the 1962 coup, has been a thorn in Asean’s side since it joined in 1997.

ASEAN insisted that it meets with all parties concerned but the junta rejected any proposed meetings with people on trial and failed to cooperate. Junta—officially known as the State Administration Council—has promised to hold elections and lift a state of emergency by August 2023.

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