Burmese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wunna Maung Lwin defended a plan to restore democracy after a meeting at which his Southeast Asian counterparts pressed the army to implement a regional agreement meant to end turmoil, state media reported yesterday.
The junta has paid little heed to demands from ASEAN to respect a “consensus” agreed in late April to end violence and hold political talks with its opponents.
Southeast Asian foreign ministers expressed disappointment at the meeting in China on Monday at the “very slow” progress made by Myanmar on its proposal for ending the turmoil since the army on Feb. 1 overthrew Burmese State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi.
Photo: AFP / Myanmar Radio and Television via AFPTV
State media cited Wunna Maung Lwin, the junta-appointed foreign minister, as telling the ASEAN-China foreign ministers’ meeting that the military had made progress on its own five-step roadmap for the country unveiled after its coup.
“The minister apprised the meeting that the only way to ensure the democratic system that is disciplined and genuine was through the five-point future program that was declared in February,” the Global New Light of Myanmar reported.
Wunna Maung Lwin said that most of these points had been met, including preventative COVID-19 measures and setting up a new election commission to look into alleged fraud during an election in November last year that was won convincingly by Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the newspaper reported.
The military defended its seizure of power after a decade of tentative steps toward democracy, saying that the old election commission had ignored its complaints of fraud.
Alarmed by the turmoil, several members of ASEAN have called for the release of political detainees, an end to the violence and for Myanmar’s rivals to hold talks on ending the crisis — calls reflected in the ASEAN “consensus.”
However, in the only reference to the ASEAN proposal, Wunna Maung Lwin was cited as saying that “discussions were made cordially” on it during a visit last week by two ASEAN envoys, who had also called for the release of political prisoners.
China’s state-run Global Times newspaper has quoted junta leader Min Aung Hlaing as telling the Chinese ambassador that Myanmar was willing to coordinate implementation of the consensus.
After Monday’s meeting, Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi said that Chinese help would be “highly appreciated, as this will contribute to achieving a peaceful solution.”
A shadow government formed by anti-coup opponents criticized China’s embassy in Myanmar for calling the junta chief the “leader” of Myanmar on a posting on its Web site.
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