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ASEAN to continue taking ‘principled position’ on Myanmar, but the issue will not hijack the agenda: Vivian Balakrishnan

PHNOM PENH: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will continue to take a “principled position” with regards to the scenario in Myanmar, stated Singapore Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan on Thursday (Feb 17).

However, member states are decided not to enable the issue to “hijack” the ASEAN agenda, he added.

Speaking to reporters throughout a digital media doorstop, Dr Balakrishnan stated while ASEAN will not intervene, it will not give legitimacy to the actions which the army have taken and are inflicting on the folks of Myanmar.

He famous that there will be “administrative wrinkles” equivalent to how the regional bloc will interpret worldwide agreements that ASEAN is celebration to, who will get to signal on behalf of Myanmar, and whether or not Myanmar will have the opportunity to take pleasure in the advantages.

“These are delicate issues which the lawyers and all the capitals are going to have to come to grips with,” he stated.

“Whilst these are important, it’s important not to lose the big picture that ASEAN is more than just one country … It’s not going to be stopped because one member is in turmoil,” he added.

Singapore has expressed disappointment over the lack of progress in the implementation of the Five-Point Consensus, which was agreed upon amongst the bloc’s leaders in addition to Myanmar army chief Min Aung Hlaing in April final yr.

The consensus contains ending violence, constructive dialogue amongst all events, the appointment of a particular ASEAN envoy to facilitate dialogue, the provision of humanitarian help, and a go to by the envoy to Myanmar.

The lack of progress on the consensus led Cambodia, which is the present chair of the 10-member bloc, to invite a non-political consultant from Myanmar to attend the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat, moderately than the nation’s military-appointed overseas minister.

Responding to a query from the media on whether or not the exclusion of the Myanmar junta from the bloc’s conferences had any impact, Dr Balakrishnan emphasised that Myanmar stays a member of ASEAN.

“We’ve not even excluded … the current military authorities from our meetings, in the sense that – even though we have said we are not inviting political representatives – even today, they dialled in, they had access to our meetings,” he stated.

“I’m not sure I would call it an exclusion but I would call it conveying a signal, a signal of disappointment, of dismay, that despite the fact that our leaders arrived at a consensus in April last year, there has been absolutely no progress.”

Despite the scenario, Dr Balakrishnan stated he was not pessimistic about ASEAN, including that the bloc continues to be a dynamic and excessive potential progress area, sustaining its relevance to superpowers and main nations in the world.

“Our challenge is to maintain our unity in the midst of the diversity and our relevance both on the international stage strategically and especially, economically,” he stated.

Dr Balakrishnan was wrapping up a three-day official go to to Phnom Penh, the place he attended the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat and had bilateral talks with Cambodian leaders.



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