Myanmar junta opposes ASEAN engagement with NUG shadow government

Indonesian foreign minister says ASEAN can solve political crisis 'only through engagement with all stakeholders.'
By RFA Burmese
Myanmar junta opposes ASEAN engagement with NUG shadow government Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi gestures during a news conference in Jakarta, Indonesia, October 27, 2022.

UPDATED at 10:03 a.m. EST on 01-13-2023

Myanmar’s military junta has warned ASEAN not to interfere with its internal matters after the regional bloc signaled it could include the country's shadow National Unity Government, or NUG, in negotiations with the bloc to deal with the post-coup crisis there.

Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi at a press conference on Wednesday pledged that as ASEAN chair her nation would establish a special envoy’s office and work according to the five-point consensus, or 5PC, referring to the bloc’s plan for putting Myanmar back on a democratic path, which analysts have termed a failure. 

"Only through engagement with all stakeholders, can the 5PC mandate regarding facilitation for the creation of a national dialogue be carried out,” said Retno, seemingly referring to the NUG.

In a press release, the junta’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded by saying that it would implement the five-point consensus “in line with the fundamental principles of upholding its national interest, sovereignty and non-interferences of the internal affairs of the member states.”

The junta also warned ASEAN not to “engage with any terrorist groups and unlawful associations [recognized] by the Government of Myanmar,” but did not mention any particular group in the release.

Myanmar’s military, which toppled an elected government on Feb. 1, 2021, reneged on the consensus that it had “agreed to” in April that year. The agreement was meant to be a roadmap that would restore peace and democracy in Myanmar.

The consensus called for an end to violence, the provision of humanitarian assistance,  the appointment of an ASEAN special envoy, dialogue between all stakeholders, and mediation by the envoy.

Since the coup, the Burmese junta has carried out a widespread campaign of torture, arbitrary arrests and attacks targeting civilians, the United Nations and human rights groups have said.

More than 2,700 people have been killed and more than 17,000 have been arrested in the nearly two years since, according to the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

Many regional observers and analysts, as well as the previous foreign minister of Malaysia, have said it is time to junk the consensus and devise a new plan on a deadline that includes enforcement mechanisms.

However on Monday, Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim reversed course and said the five-point consensus remains the best route to resolving the crisis in Myanmar.

Update adds context that Retno Marsudi was likely referring to engagement with the NUG.


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Jan 12, 2023 10:17 PM

why stay out of your affairs ,, what have you got to hide ,,you seem to think that you can do what you want with no opposition or no questions asked ,, it is in the interest of the world that you be brought to justice and be punished ,,

U Kyaw Win
Jan 13, 2023 11:47 AM

ASEAN should throw B U R M A out of ASEAN>