- Retno Marsudi of Indonesia says “no significant progress” in executing its five-point plan to end the instability in Myanmar.
- Indonesia hopes that Myanmar would ratify ASEAN’s request for the appointment of a Special ASEAN Envoy as soon as possible.
- Myanmar has demonstrated little inclination to accept ASEAN’s five-point plan.
No Progress in Five-point plan
On Aug 2, Indonesia’s foreign minister asked Myanmar to accept the appointment of an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) special envoy, saying little progress had been achieved on a proposal to facilitate negotiations between Myanmar’s warring parties.
Six months after the military deposed Myanmar’s democratically elected government, ASEAN foreign ministers gathered to name the ambassador entrusted with putting a stop to violence and fostering dialogue between the junta and its opponents.
Retno Marsudi of Indonesia, speaking to the media via video conference, claimed the group had made “no significant progress” in executing its five-point plan to end the instability in Myanmar, which was launched in April. The delay “does ASEAN no good,” she added, and if inactivity continues, the matter should be referred to leaders for guidance.
Since the Feb. 1 coup, Myanmar has been wracked by a violent crackdown on demonstrations, economic collapse, and a refugee exodus. In the last month, a rise in coronavirus infections has overloaded the health system, exacerbating the humanitarian catastrophe.
Many nations, including the United States and China, have encouraged the Southeast Asian bloc, which includes Myanmar, to lead diplomatic efforts to restore stability in Myanmar.
“Indonesia hopes that Myanmar would ratify ASEAN’s request for the appointment of a Special Envoy as soon as possible,” Retno added.
The envoy should be able to move freely in Myanmar and meet with “different stakeholders,” an apparent reference to expelled legislators, many of whom are imprisoned, according to Indonesia’s foreign minister. Retno did not say who had been chosen for the job of the envoy, but diplomats told Reuters that Brunei’s second minister for foreign affairs, Erywan Yusof, was a strong contender.
In a speech, Myanmar’s military ruler, Min Aung Hlaing, stated that the military regime wanted Thailand’s former deputy foreign minister, Virasakdi Futrakul, as an ambassador, but “new ideas were presented, and we could not keep going forward.”
ASEAN works on the basis of consensus decision-making. According to officials, this implies Myanmar will have to endorse the envoy’s nomination. Myanmar has demonstrated little inclination to accept ASEAN’s five-point plan, preferring to refer to its own plans for Myanmar’s future. Min Aung Hlaing reiterated his vow to conduct elections by 2023.
According to Retno, ASEAN must give immediate humanitarian assistance to Myanmar and investigate a system for distributing COVID-19 vaccinations.