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‘Hun Sen’s rogue diplomacy a threat to ASEAN, Myanmar’

  • Diplomatic Correspondent
  • 11 January, 2022 12:00 AM
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ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) has termed the Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s visit to Myanmar and his meeting with the military leader Min Aung Hlaing is a brazen and dangerous attempt to seize the initiative away from the ASEAN’s collective approach to the crisis in Myanmar

“These two coup makers are conducting another coup within Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) that threatens to split the organization itself,” said the APHR in a press statement received here on Monday.

The other eight members of ASEAN must jointly demand that Cambodia adheres to the Five-Point Consensus and works within the collective framework of ASEAN to tackle the multiple urgent crises in Myanmar, reads the statement. It said Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Min Aung Hlaing agreed in April 2021 to the Five-Point Consensus as ASEAN’s approach to the humanitarian and human rights crises in Myanmar.

Almost immediately, Myanmar’s junta broke the agreement by escalating the violence, and has failed to make any genuine progress on the agreed plan. Even before Cambodia took over the Chairmanship of ASEAN, Prime Minister Hun Sen signalled his disdain for the Five-Point Consensus, declaring he had his own plans.

“It is deeply concerning for the whole region that he has subverted the ASEAN process, and is hijacking the Chairmanship to oppose the will of the people of Myanmar, who have made their stance clear for close to a year that they will not accept junta control,” said the APHR.

It said Hun Sen’s and Min Aung Hlaing’s joint press statement announces a number of apparent breakthroughs in their talks, but no one should be fooled that any actual progress has been achieved.

The military has made no substantive concessions and there has been no dialogue that could lead to a tenable ceasefire. There is no mention of imprisoned elected officials, such as President Win Myint and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, nor of the National Unity Government formed by elected representatives who were unconstitutionally ousted from power by the military.

“No progress can be made unless the military junta’s campaign of terror against the Myanmar people is stopped and the Myanmar people and their elected representatives are consulted and included. An enduring solution to the crisis cannot be reached with the junta setting its own conditions.”

“The joint statement released by the Cambodian Prime Minister with the leader of the illegal junta, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, is a misguided and dangerous attempt to deceptively portray a breakthrough, when in fact his unilateral actions have dramatically weakened ASEAN’s collective leverage to solve the Myanmar crisis. It is a brazen attempt by these two coup leaders to hijack ASEAN for their own authoritarian purposes, undermining the Myanmar peoples’ fight for democracy and human rights,” said Charles Santiago, Chair of APHR and a Malaysian MP.

 “Hun Sen should know better, having lived through the Khmer Rouge genocide, than to act as an accomplice to the Myanmar junta that is accused of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes,” said Khin Omar, founder of Progressive Voice.

The APHR called on the ASEAN leaders to reiterate their commitment to support the Myanmar people’s aspirations to achieve peace, freedom, democracy, and respect for human rights in their country.