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Singapore PM: ASEAN should continue to boycott Myanmar junta

Singapore’s leader has said the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should continue
excluding Myanmar’s junta from its meeting until it cooperates
on an agreed peace plans.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a video call on Friday
urged the regional group’s new chair, Cambodia, to engage all
sides in Myanmar’s conflict, Singapore’s Foreign Ministry said
on Saturday.

Lee told his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen that ASEAN should
continue inviting a non-political representative from Myanmar to
its meetings and any decision to change that “had to be based on
new facts”.

His remarks follow a controversial visit last week by Hun Sen to Myanmar, where he met Min Aung Hlaing, the head of the military government whom ASEAN excluded from its leaders’ summit for his failure to implement the five-point plan to end hostilities and allow dialogue after a coup last year.

Malaysia’s foreign minister, Saifuddin Abdullah, made similar comments on Thursday, saying some ASEAN members felt Hun Sen should have discussed his trip with fellow leaders beforehand, as it could be seen as recognising the junta.

READ MORE: Myanmar has all ingredients for civil war: ASEAN chair

Inclusive engagement with junta

Lee told Hun Sen any engagement with Myanmar needed to include “all parties concerned”, including Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s ousted ruling party.

The Singapore leader said that despite Myanmar’s peace commitments, the military has made further attacks against its political opponents and imposed further prison sentences on Suu Kyi.

Hun Sen made some proposals to Lee on how to coordinate a ceasefire in Myanmar and deliver humanitarian assistance, according to the statement.

Lee responded these could be complicated because there had been no access to all parties, although Singapore did not object to the idea in principle.

All of Cambodia’s proposals, as ASEAN chair, should be further discussed among ASEAN foreign ministers, Lee said, according to the statement.

“Prime Minister Lee hoped that Cambodia would consider his views and those of other ASEAN leaders,” it said.

Cambodia on Wednesday postponed the inaugural meeting of its ASEAN chairmanship, scheduled for next week, because some foreign ministers had expressed “difficulties” in attending.

Lee’s remarks also come days after Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn said on his Facebook page that Singapore backed Cambodia’s approach on the Myanmar crisis.

READ MORE:
Myanmar’s junta chief backs ASEAN peace efforts

Singapore’s leader says that ASEAN should continue inviting a non-political representative from Myanmar to its meetings and any decision to change that “had to be based on new facts”.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has urged the regional group's new chair, Cambodia, to engage all sides in Myanmar's conflict.
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has urged the regional group’s new chair, Cambodia, to engage all sides in Myanmar’s conflict.
(Reuters)

Singapore’s leader has said the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should continue
excluding Myanmar’s junta from its meeting until it cooperates
on an agreed peace plans.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a video call on Friday
urged the regional group’s new chair, Cambodia, to engage all
sides in Myanmar’s conflict, Singapore’s Foreign Ministry said
on Saturday.

Lee told his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen that ASEAN should
continue inviting a non-political representative from Myanmar to
its meetings and any decision to change that “had to be based on
new facts”.

His remarks follow a controversial visit last week by Hun Sen to Myanmar, where he met Min Aung Hlaing, the head of the military government whom ASEAN excluded from its leaders’ summit for his failure to implement the five-point plan to end hostilities and allow dialogue after a coup last year.

Malaysia’s foreign minister, Saifuddin Abdullah, made similar comments on Thursday, saying some ASEAN members felt Hun Sen should have discussed his trip with fellow leaders beforehand, as it could be seen as recognising the junta.

READ MORE: Myanmar has all ingredients for civil war: ASEAN chair

Inclusive engagement with junta

Lee told Hun Sen any engagement with Myanmar needed to include “all parties concerned”, including Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s ousted ruling party.

The Singapore leader said that despite Myanmar’s peace commitments, the military has made further attacks against its political opponents and imposed further prison sentences on Suu Kyi.

Hun Sen made some proposals to Lee on how to coordinate a ceasefire in Myanmar and deliver humanitarian assistance, according to the statement.

Lee responded these could be complicated because there had been no access to all parties, although Singapore did not object to the idea in principle.

All of Cambodia’s proposals, as ASEAN chair, should be further discussed among ASEAN foreign ministers, Lee said, according to the statement.

“Prime Minister Lee hoped that Cambodia would consider his views and those of other ASEAN leaders,” it said.

Cambodia on Wednesday postponed the inaugural meeting of its ASEAN chairmanship, scheduled for next week, because some foreign ministers had expressed “difficulties” in attending.

Lee’s remarks also come days after Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn said on his Facebook page that Singapore backed Cambodia’s approach on the Myanmar crisis.

READ MORE:
Myanmar’s junta chief backs ASEAN peace efforts

Source: Reuters

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