Malaysia urges ASEAN for swift decision on Myanmar 5-point consensus

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Kuala Lumpur plans to pressure ASEAN to decide the fate of its five-point consensus on Myanmar ahead of the regional bloc summit in November, Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said Monday in New York, on the eve of the high-level work in the UN General Assembly.

In November, the bloc will have to decide whether to ditch the consensus leaders agreed with Myanmar in April 2021, said Malaysia’s outspoken top diplomat, who has consistently taken the lead on Myanmar issues after the Southeast Association coup. Asian Nations.

Saifuddin spoke to reporters as part of a panel after meeting Burmese opposition members in New York. Monday’s meeting took place amid reports that the junta had fired at a… village school in Myanmar’s Sagaing region, killing at least seven children in what appeared to be the deadliest incident involving children since last year’s military coup.

Saifuddin doubted the validity of the consensus.

“Between now and November, ASEAN needs to seriously consider whether the 5-point consensus is still relevant and decide whether it is still relevant. By the time we meet in November, we should be asking tough questions and having answers,” Saifuddin said, addressing reporters at Malaysia’s diplomatic mission to the United Nations afterwards.

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“If it doesn’t work, we have to decide what to do next. We can’t go in November and start talking about it. We have to lay the foundation now.”

Myanmar’s military, meanwhile, gleefully ignored the five-point consensus it agreed with ASEAN last year, one of the key points of which was an end to the violence. His forces have also killed more than 2,300 people since the generals took power by overthrowing an elected government on February 1, 2021.

In July, Saifuddin had floated the prospect of scrapping the consensus to resolve the post-coup crisis in Myanmar after the Burmese junta “made fun of it” by executing four political prisoners.

The consensus had called for an end to the violence; constructive dialogue between all parties; the mediation of such talks by an ASEAN special envoy; providing ASEAN-coordinated humanitarian aid and a visit to Myanmar by an ASEAN delegation to meet with all parties.

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Activists and analysts have criticized the Southeast Asian bloc for its failed five-point plan to restore democracy in Myanmar, as the junta and its leader, senior general Min Aung Hlaing, have ignored every point they agreed to in an emergency 17 months ago. top in Jakarta.

On Monday, ASEAN human rights parliamentarians called the five-point consensus a “outright failure.”

“We need to develop a new model, the way forward is for the NGG to be part of this,” said APHR chairman and Malaysian MP Charles Santiago, who attended the press conference with Saifuddin.

“The NGG has no role to play in the existing model, but now the NGG should be part of Myanmar’s reconstruction,” Santiago added.

The NUG, or Government of National Unity, is Myanmar’s parallel civilian government.

On Monday, Saifuddin also expressed disappointment at the extent of ASEAN’s dialogue with the opposition in Myanmar, namely the NUG and the NUCC, a group of opposition stakeholders.

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“Malaysia is not satisfied with the engagement [of ASEAN with the NUG and NUCC] because we made this call months ago for ASEAN to cooperate with the NUG and NUCC,” he said.

“There must be consultation between ASEAN and stakeholders, with a clear end game and the end game is return to democracy in Myanmar.”

Malaysia was the first ASEAN member to officially contact the civilian government of Myanmar.

Saifuddin said the NGG has been working in recent months to bring all of Myanmar’s ethnic communities together.

“The NUG has done a fantastic job over the past few months building trust with all stakeholders. We have probably never seen such unity among all stakeholders,” he said.

“ASEAN needs to work with the NUG, and this is something we will bring up again on the 22nd,” he said.

ASEAN foreign ministers will meet informally on September 22 in the margins of the UN General Assembly.