Sunday, September 24, 2023

On ASEAN Day, Indonesia Urges Myanmar Junta to Implement Peace Consensus

Jayanty Nada Shofa
August 8, 2022 | 7:58 pm
Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi (center, in pink) attends the 55th Asean Day event at the bloc's secretariat in Jakarta on Aug. 8, 2022. (JG Photo/Jayanty Nada Shofa)
Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi (center, in pink) attends the 55th Asean Day event at the bloc's secretariat in Jakarta on Aug. 8, 2022. (JG Photo/Jayanty Nada Shofa)

Jakarta. Indonesia on Monday took the floor of ASEAN's 55th anniversary celebrations to urge the Myanmar military junta to carry out the five-point consensus on restoring peace in the strife-torn country.

ASEAN is turning 55 today, but the crisis taking place in its member state Myanmar haunts the regional grouping’s anniversary. Last April, ASEAN leaders agreed on a five-point consensus which, among other things, called for immediate cessation to the violence.

More than a year has passed since the making of the consensus, and the Myanmar military junta has made little to no progress to implement the peace plan. Just two weeks ago, the junta even reported that they had executed four pro-democracy activists.

According to Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, ASEAN is facing a challenge to find a solution to the Myanmar crisis "as a family".


“We are deeply concerned that we have not seen any significant progress by the military junta in Myanmar in implementing the five-point consensus. We do not need words, but deeds. Deeds to implement the five-point consensus,” Retno said when speaking at the 55th ASEAN Day event at the bloc's secretariat in Jakarta on Monday.

Quoting ASEAN chair Hun Sen’s words during a recent meeting with the group’s foreign ministers, Retno said "ASEAN should not be taken hostage by the situation in Myanmar and ASEAN must move forward."

Retno added that ASEAN must not let the Myanmar issue define the Southeast Asian bloc.

ASEAN should fulfill its people’s wish to live in peace, stability, and prosperity, according to the senior diplomat.

She highlighted how the ASEAN Charter had stipulated the group’s adherence to democratic principles, rule of law and good governance, as well as respect for and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

"On this anniversary, therefore, let us repeat our call for the military junta in Myanmar to fully implement the five-point consensus," Retno said.

On Apr. 24, 2021, ASEAN leaders and military junta chief Min Aung Hlaing gathered in person at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta. 

The leaders agreed to a five-point consensus of immediately ceasing the violence, opening up constructive dialogue among all parties and delivery of humanitarian assistance. The consensus also calls for the appointment of a special ASEAN envoy to visit Myanmar and mediate the dialogue between the stakeholders in the crisis-hit nation.

Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Prak Sokhonn currently serves as the ASEAN special envoy to Myanmar.

Sokhnonn plans to embark on his third trip to Myanmar in early September, Cambodian news outlet Phnom Penh Post reported over the weekend.

And as ASEAN turns a year older, Indonesia is getting a step closer to chairing the 10-member group next year. At the event, Retno gave a glimpse into the country's 2023 chairmanship.

“Celebrating ASEAN's anniversary means celebrating its relevance to our people, the region, and the world at large. I believe ASEAN matters and will always matter. Not only for what it is, but more for what it does. It is what Indonesia will put forward in its chairmanship next year,” Retno said.

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