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International community waiting to see tangible outcome from Saturday's ASEAN meet

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By Voon Miaw Ping

KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 -- The special ASEAN Leaders Meeting in Jakarta on Saturday has taken centre stage with the international community waiting to see if the 10-member regional grouping can emerge with a tangible outcome for the crisis in Myanmar.

ASEAN countries flags

Dr. Rahul Mishra, Associate for the Centre for ASEAN Regionalism, University of Malaya said ASEAN is now under tremendous international scrutiny especially on the civil society front and therefore has to bring some tangible outcome soon on the Myanmar issue.

However, Mishra pointed out ASEAN is unlikely to take any strong move against Myanmar unlike the US that imposed sanctions on Myanmar.

“We must also accept as much as the international community wants it, ASEAN has no appetite for imposing sanctions or expelling or suspending Myanmar.

“Going forward, ASEAN should keep doing what it is best, that is diplomatic footwork to negotiate restoration of democracy in Myanmar along with complete repatriation of the Rohingya community to their homeland,” he said to Bernama.

Mishra who is also a senior lecturer at the ASIA-Europe Institute said what is more important now is that the military junta must also immediately stop violent suppression of protestors as well as ongoing conflicts with rebel groups.

However, he noted that a lasting peace in Myanmar also cannot be secured without the Tatmadaw (Myanmar's armed forces).

“We must also be mindful of the fact that it is time to go beyond the Tatmadaw-NLD (National League for Democracy) binary and involve all ethnic communities in devising a peaceful solution to this crisis based on federal principle,” he said.

Myanmar has been rocked by political and humanitarian hostilities following the coup on Feb 1. To date, more than 700 anti-coup protestors have been killed by security forces while key civilian leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi remain under house arrest.

Malaysian Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen and Indonesian President Joko Widodo have confirmed their attendance at tomorrow's meeting chaired by Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah at the ASEAN secretariat in Jakarta. 

ASEAN, established in 1967 consist of ten members. They are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. 

-- BERNAMA

Original article: Bernama.com

Last Updated: 27/04/2021