ASEAN demands junta action

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AFP) — Southeast Asian ministers Friday condemned the lack of progress on a crisis resolution plan for coup-hit Myanmar, demanding the junta take action before a regional summit later this year.

The demand was contained in a joint statement issued by the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) after talks in Phnom Penh.

And in a veiled warning to Myanmar’s junta, the statement — referencing Article 20 of the ASEAN charter — noted the leaders’ meeting later this year could still take action over “non-compliance” by Naypyidaw authorities with the five point consensus.”

Earlier in the week, Malaysia — which has led calls for tougher action — indicated that Myanmar could face suspension from the bloc, should members not see concrete progress ahead of the leaders’ summit.

Friday’s statement said ASEAN’s special envoy to Myanmar must be allowed to meet with “all relevant stakeholders” — alluding to the military junta’s decision to block access to the detained Suu Kyi.

The foreign ministers also condemned last month’s executions of Phyo Zeya Thaw, a rapper-turned-lawmaker from ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party, and veteran political activist Kyaw Min Yu, better known as “Jimmy.”

Myanmar has been in chaos since a putsch in February last year, and the death toll from the military’s brutal crackdown on dissent has passed 2,100, according to a local monitoring group.

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