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Oct 18, 2021 / 17:05

Many countries support ASEAN special envoy to Myanmar

They said a peaceful and non-violent resolution of the crisis and return to democracy is a matter of urgency.

Several countries have issued a joint statement of support for ASEAN’s special envoy to Myanmar, which was appointed in early August to facilitate mediation of the dialogue process with all parties concerned.

 Brunei’s Second Foreign Minister Erywan Yusof. Photo: Straitstimes

In the statement released on Oct 15, the Governments of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Timor-Leste, the UK, the US, and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, on behalf of the European Union (EU) reaffirmed their “strong endorsement of ASEAN’s ongoing efforts to chart a course out of the current crisis in Myanmar.”

For them, ASEAN’s central role in the Indo-Pacific region is recognized and they welcome the prospective visit to Myanmar by the Minister of Foreign Affairs (II) of Brunei Darussalam, Dato Erywan, as the Special Envoy of the ASEAN Chair on Myanmar.

They are committed to supporting his efforts to facilitate Myanmar’s full and urgent implementation of the Five-Point Consensus, as decided by ASEAN Leaders and the Commander in Chief of the Myanmar military on April 24.

“We emphasize support for the objectives of Dato Erywan’s visit, including his intention to meet all parties in line with the Five-Point Consensus, and call on the regime to facilitate his access. We reiterate our support for the Special Envoy role going forward, and stand ready to support ASEAN’s efforts across Chairs,” the statement showed.

The countries said they remain “deeply concerned about the dire situation in Myanmar, its growing toll on the people of Myanmar, and its worsening implications for regional stability. A peaceful and non-violent resolution of the crisis and return to democracy is a matter of urgency.”

For that reason, they call on Myanmar to engage constructively with the ASEAN Special Envoy to also implement other aspects of the Five-Point Consensus swiftly and completely.

In line with the Five-Point Consensus, they call on the military to immediately cease violence; engage in constructive, inclusive dialogue with all stakeholders; and facilitate safe, unimpeded access for humanitarian assistance, including by ensuring the safety of humanitarian and health workers.

They also call for full respect for human rights, including the immediate release of those unjustly detained, including foreigners, calling on the military to facilitate regular visits to Myanmar by the ASEAN Special Envoy, and for him to be able to engage freely with all stakeholders.

 A Myanmar soldier stands guard on a road amid demonstrations against the military coup in Naypyidaw on Feb 17, 2021. Photo: AFP/VNA

Myanmar crisis

The appointment of the envoy is part of the Five-Point Consensus that includes an immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar; constructive dialogue among all parties; the appointment of a special ASEAN envoy to facilitate dialogue; the provision of humanitarian assistance; and a visit by the envoy to Myanmar.

Commenting on the appointment, Bilahari Kausikan, former permanent secretary of Singapore’s Foreign Ministry, said “Dato Erywan Pehin Yusof is a very experienced ASEAN hand, he is an excellent choice.” “But I hope ASEAN’s friends and partners will not burden him with unrealistic expectations and by second-guessing his every move,” Kyodo News cited him.

The UN Security Council (UNSC) issued a press statement expressing “deep concern” about the “arbitrary detention” of members of the government.

The UNSC called for the release of those detained and emphasizing the need to “uphold democratic institutions and processes, refrain from violence, and fully respect human rights, fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law.”

ASEAN, which has 10 member countries namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, has been working on the Myanmar issues to seek “a peaceful solution in the interests of the people.”