Activist countries

Myanmar coup: Malaysia calls on more ASEAN countries to engage with junta opponents.

The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, has pushed Myanmar’s junta regime to adhere to the peace plan since its generals seized power in a coup. state last year. Malaysia recently called on other ASEAN countries to engage with Myanmar’s shadow government.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said his country wanted a clear end goal in the Myanmar peace process and called on ASEAN member states to engage with opponents of the junta, government ghost of national unity.

Saifuddin added that the Myanmar bloc’s special envoy must have a longer tenure to be more effective, as the group has banned the junta from attending its summits.

During his visit to Thailand, Saifuddin underscored the importance for ASEAN members to show their support for the people of Myanmar and to engage with the opposition groups formed after the generals’ coup, including including the shadow government.

Saifuddin told reporters the engagement was “one-sided” as the group only engaged with the junta.

“Some of us have put on the table that if ASEAN can’t do it alone, we’ll probably have to engage some of our ASEAN dialogue partners,” Saifuddin said, without naming which countries.

The junta urged ASEAN countries not to engage with its opponents whom it called “terrorists”.

The 10-member bloc also expressed frustration with the junta for its failure to honor the peace accord reached a few months after the coup, including multi-party dialogue, an immediate end to violence and the access to humanitarian aid.

The bloc’s special regional envoy, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Prak Sokhonn, said on Saturday, following the bloc’s meeting the previous week, that he had no intention of abandoning Myanmar, even if there doesn’t seem to be any will on either side to give up their fight.

Sokhonn also said the junta’s execution of four activists linked to their opponents had snuffed out any hope for peace and that the ASEAN group agreed that without further progress, its stance on Myanmar would be reconsidered.

The junta issued a statement on Friday last week saying ASEAN should not interfere in the regime’s affairs or engage with its opponents.