ASEAN excludes Myanmar junta chief from summit in uncommon transfer

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BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN — Southeast Asian nations will invite a non-political consultant from Myanmar to a regional summit this month, delivering an unprecedented snub to the army chief who led a coup in opposition to an elected civilian authorities in February.

The choice taken by overseas ministers from the Affiliation of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at an emergency assembly on Friday evening, marks a uncommon daring step for the consensus-driven bloc, which has historically favored a coverage of engagement and non-interference.

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Singapore’s overseas ministry stated on Saturday the transfer to exclude junta chief Min Aung Hlaing was a “tough, however crucial, resolution to uphold ASEAN’s credibility.”

The assertion cited an absence of progress made on a roadmap to revive peace in Myanmar that the junta had agreed to with ASEAN in April.

A spokesman for Myanmar’s army authorities blamed “overseas intervention” for the choice.

Junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun advised the BBC Burmese information service that the USA and representatives of the European Union had pressured different ASEAN member states.

“The overseas interventions may also be seen right here,” he stated. “We realized that some envoys from some nations met with U.S. overseas affairs and obtained stress from EU.”

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Greater than 1,000 civilians have been killed by Myanmar safety forces with hundreds of others arrested, in response to the United Nations, amid a crackdown on strikes and protests which has derailed the nation’s tentative democracy and prompted worldwide condemnation.

The junta says these estimates of the dying toll are exaggerated.

ASEAN’s present chair Brunei stated a non-political determine from Myanmar could be invited to the Oct. 26-28 summit, after no consensus was reached for a political consultant to attend.

“As there had been inadequate progress… in addition to considerations over Myanmar’s dedication, particularly on establishing constructive dialog amongst all involved events, some ASEAN Member States really useful that ASEAN give house to Myanmar to revive its inside affairs and return to normalcy,” Brunei stated in a press release.

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It didn’t point out Min Aung Hlaing or identify who could be invited in his stead.

Brunei stated some member states had obtained requests from Myanmar’s Nationwide Unity Authorities, fashioned by opponents of the junta, to attend the summit.

‘JUSTIFIED DOWNGRADE’

ASEAN has confronted growing worldwide stress to take a harder stand in opposition to Myanmar, having been criticized up to now for its ineffectiveness in coping with leaders accused of rights abuses, subverting democracy and intimidating political opponents.

A U.S. State Division official advised reporters on Friday that it was “completely acceptable and in reality fully justified” for ASEAN to downgrade Myanmar’s participation on the coming summit.

Singapore in its assertion urged Myanmar to cooperate with ASEAN’s envoy, Brunei’s second overseas affairs minister Erywan Yusof.

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Erywan has delayed a long-planned go to to the nation in current weeks and has requested to fulfill all events in Myanmar, together with deposed chief Aung San Suu Kyi, who was detained within the coup.

Junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun stated this week Erywan could be welcome in Myanmar, however wouldn’t be allowed to fulfill Suu Kyi as a result of she is charged with crimes.

Malaysia’s overseas minister stated it could be as much as the Myanmar junta to determine on an alternate consultant to the summit.

“We by no means considered eradicating Myanmar from ASEAN, we imagine Myanmar has the identical rights (as us),” overseas minister Saifuddin Abdullah advised reporters in response to Bernama state information company.

“However the junta has not cooperated, so ASEAN should be robust in defending its credibility and integrity,” he added. (Reporting by Ain Bandial; Further reporting by Aradhana Aravindan in Singapore and Simon Lewis in Washington; Writing by Rozanna Latiff; Modifying by William Mallard, Simon Cameron-Moore, Mike Harrison and Christina Fincher)

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