ASEAN envoy meets generals in controversial Myanmar visit

ASEAN envoy meets generals in controversial Myanmar visit

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Special envoy Prak Sokhonn met Myanmar’s military rulers on a controversial first trip to the crisis-hit country.

On Monday, Sokhonn began his three-day visit by holding talks with armed forces chief Min Aung Hlaing. In February 2021 Hlaing seized power in a coup.

According to the junta’s information team, the two men discussed “the situation of protests and violence stemming from political disagreement” along with humanitarian cooperation. ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi was also present at the meeting with the military’s foreign minister Wunna Maung Lwin. 

Aung San Suu Kyi’s government was removed by the military last year, triggering mass protests, nationwide strikes, and conflict with ethnic armies and rural groups. ASEAN has led diplomatic efforts to stop the chaos unleashed by last year’s coup.

Prak Sokhonn’s visit coincides with frustration in ASEAN over Min Aung Hlaing’s failure to honour the five-point “consensus” that ended hostilities and started a peace process, which he agreed to last year at an ASEAN summit in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Hun Sen, Cambodia’s strongman leader who has ruled the country for more than three decades, is hoping that the unprecedented decision by ASEAN to bar the generals from its summits will reignite dialogue.