Timeline: ASEAN tries to deal with Myanmar’s worsening disaster

Southeast Asian leaders have kicked off a summit with out Myanmar’s high common, Min Aung Hlaing, who was barred from the assembly over “insufficient progress” in implementing a regional plan to finish the nation’s bloody political disaster.

Analysts say the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) exclusion of Min Aung Hlaing – who had toppled Myanmar’s civilian authorities in a February 1 coup – is the “most severe sanction” the bloc has handed all the way down to a member state because it was established in 1967.

Made up of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, the group is thought for its non-interference in one another’s home affairs.

Myanmar had joined the bloc in 1997.

A view reveals digital 38th ASEAN Summit, in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei October 26, 2021 [Ain Bandial/ Reuters]

Here’s a timeline of key occasions in ASEAN’s engagement with Myanmar since this 12 months’s coup:

ASEAN requires restraint

On the day of the facility seize, the United Nations and Western nations piled on their condemnation of the army, however ASEAN issued a extra muted assertion, calling for dialogue and a “return to normalcy in accordance with the will and interests of the people of Myanmar”.

Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines additionally took a extra hands-off approach, describing the developments as an “internal affair”, though Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia did specific concern over the army takeover.

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As safety forces started firing dwell rounds on protesters rallying in opposition to the coup, international ministers of ASEAN held talks with Myanmar’s army on March 2. They issued an announcement urging “all parties” to “refrain from instigating further violence” within the nation.

Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore additionally issued statements calling for the discharge of Myanmar’s civilian chief, Aung San Suu Kyi. The 73-year-old had been detained on the morning of the coup and was later charged with a raft of felony offences, together with possessing unlicensed walkie talkies.

Five Point Consensus

The leaders of ASEAN maintain a unprecedented assembly with Min Aung Hlaing on April 24 and agree on a five-point plan to deal with the disaster in Myanmar. The “Five Point Consensus” included ending the escalating violence, launching talks between all events and appointing a particular envoy to facilitate the dialogue.

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China, Russia and US again ASEAN plan

As Myanmar safety forces stepped up killings and opponents of the coup started taking on arms in opposition to the army, China, Russia and the United States again ASEAN’s diplomatic efforts to finish the escalating disaster.

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on June 7 met his Southeast Asian counterparts within the Chinese metropolis of Chongqing and mentioned Beijing supported “ASEAN playing a constructive role in properly handling Myanmar’s domestic issues”. However, Wang urged the bloc to keep away from “undue interference” within the nation’s affairs.

Russia, a key provider of arms and coaching to Myanmar’s army, mentioned on July 6 that it thought of ASEAN’s plan as “the basis for resolving the crisis [in Myanmar] and bring the situation back to normalcy”. The US on July 14 additionally emphasised ASEAN’s centrality in tackling the chaos in Myanmar, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging the bloc to “immediate action” on the Five Point Consensus.

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ASEAN appoints envoy

After months with out progress, ASEAN picked Brunei’s Second Foreign Minister Erywan Yusof as its particular envoy. Myanmar accepted the selection, although it was reported to have most popular a former Thai diplomat.

Indonesia mentioned it had been an arduous course of to persuade Myanmar to decide to the envoy and the mediation course of.

Erywan Yusof, the Second Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Brunei, was chosen as particular envoy to Myanmar [File: Richard Drew/ AP]

Myanmar blocks assembly with Aung San Suu Kyi

Erywan on October 6 accused Myanmar of inaction on the ASEAN plan and mentioned the dearth of progress was “tantamount to backtracking”. He additionally mentioned he had requested for a gathering with Aung San Suu Kyi throughout an upcoming go to to the nation, however mentioned that the army had not responded on to his request.

Days later, on October 13, a spokesman for the army mentioned whereas Erywan was free to go to Myanmar, he wouldn’t be capable of meet with Aung San Suu Kyi. The army justified the choice saying it was due to the felony expenses in opposition to the Nobel peace laureate.

Erywan then cancelled his journey.

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ASEAN bars Min Aung Hlaing from summit

On October 16, Brunei, which is chairing ASEAN, issued an announcement saying a non-political determine from Myanmar could be invited to its annual summit, delivering an unprecedented snub to Min Aung Hlaing.

“As there had been insufficient progress … as well as concerns over Myanmar’s commitment, in particular on establishing constructive dialogue among all concerned parties, some ASEAN Member States recommended that ASEAN give space to Myanmar to restore its internal affairs and return to normalcy,” the assertion mentioned.

Singapore mentioned the move was a “difficult but necessary decision to uphold ASEAN’s credibility”.

Myanmar’s army blamed “foreign interference” from the US and the European Union for the uncommon rebuke and mentioned it had knowledgeable Brunei that it might solely settle for participation by Min Aung Hlaing or a ministerial-level consultant.

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