Indonesian President Joko Widodo somberly acknowledged to fellow ASEAN leaders Thursday that little progress has been made to halt the violence gripping Myanmar. Moreover, reaffirmed a plea for an end to the violence including a recent airstrike dubbed a “apparent war crime” by a rights group.
“I have to be honest,” Widodo told ASEAN leaders on the final day of their two-day summit in the Indonesian port town of Labuan Bajo. “No significant progress has been made in implementing the five-point consensus.”
Widodo, ASEAN’s chairperson this year, was alluding to a 2021 peace plan. That was devised by the 10-nation group with Myanmar’s top general. He called for an immediate cessation of bloodshed and negotiations. Between competing parties to be mediated by an ASEAN special envoy.
Military-led government of Myanmar refused to implement the plan. Which caused ASEAN leaders to bar the country’s ruling generals and appointees from attending the bloc’s summit meetings. The generals have opposed ASEAN’s approach. They say violates the group’s fundamental philosophy of non-interference in each other’s domestic affairs and consensus decision-making.
Call For Unity
Widodo called for unity, which appeared to be fruitless. However, he spoke with other heads of state in a bayside hotel conference room with the chair intended for Myanmar’s leader unoccupied.
Following the summit, Widodo and his foreign minister, Retno Marsudi, told that the bloc would continue to push for the peace plan’s implementation. Moreover to expand ASEAN member’s engagement with various groups to end Myanmar violence. Meanwhile, hoping that the military-led government would do the same.
“We will try once more,” Marsudi told reporters. “We remain united and strong in recognizing the importance of the five-point consensus.”
“Engagement doesn’t mean recognition,” Widodo said.
Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim expressed his displeasure publicly. Meanwhile, he claimed that over 200,000 individuals have migrated to Malaysia to escape the turmoil in Myanmar.