Indonesia wants ASEAN envoy to Myanmar

·1-min read

Indonesia's foreign minister has called on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to immediately name an envoy to troubled Myanmar, more than a month after the bloc agreed steps to try to end turmoil after a military coup.

ASEAN is leading the main diplomatic effort on Myanmar since the February 1 coup plunged it into chaos, with hundreds of killings by security forces, thousands jailed, daily protests, paralysing strikes and spreading conflict in border regions.

Little apparent progress has been made since ASEAN said at a meeting in Indonesia's capital in April that it had reached a 'consensus' with the junta ruling member state Myanmar.

"The appointment of a special envoy must be done immediately and communication with all parties must be maintained," Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told a video news conference in Jakarta.

The chair and secretary-general of 10-nation ASEAN plan to travel there in the coming days to follow up on the five-point consensus the bloc said it had agreed, diplomatic sources said on Tuesday.

Those points included ending violence, a constructive dialogue among all parties, the special ASEAN envoy to facilitate the dialogue, acceptance of aid and a visit by the envoy to Myanmar.

Rather than agreeing to dialogue with opposition forces that have formed a rival National Unity Government, the junta has branded them as terrorists and traitors.

"Inclusive dialogue should be encouraged to solve the political crisis in Myanmar and to bring democracy back to Myanmar's political sphere in accordance with the will of the people of Myanmar," Retno said.

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