Indonesian President Joko Widodo has proposed to leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) that representatives of the Myanmar military be barred from the bloc’s functions beyond big ticket summits, he said Friday.
Leaders belonging to the 10 nation grouping debated the issue “at length” he said, in the strongest sign yet that some ASEAN members are growing frustrated by the lack of progress in ending persisting violence in Myanmar since last year’s coup.
“Indonesia proposed that the participation of non-political level representation of Myanmar should also be applied beyond summit and foreign ministers meeting,” he said.
He added that the bloc should also engage all stakeholders as a means to creating a dialog between several armed ethnic groups, the junta and supporters of deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
The region’s top envoys had earlier agreed to hold Myanmar’s military to a “concrete” but unspecified timeline for making progress on a plan to end violence.
ASEAN has come under pressure to convince the junta to end the political instability since coup leader Min Aung Hlaing seized control from the civilian government last year.
There appears to be no signs of a consensus within ASEAN over how to hold the Myanmar military to account.
Its top envoys previously said they were “deeply disappointed” by the limited progress in and lack of commitment of Myanmar authorities to the timely and complete implementation of a five-point consensus agreed between the two sides last year.
Last month, Myanmar’s junta defended its air strikes on a concert organised by an ethnic minority group that killed at least 60 people, which opponents have described as a possible war crime.
Thai government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said that Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha is “of the view that ASEAN’s role in the Myanmar situation is extremely important and crucial,” though he stopped short of offering a position on how the bloc should proceed.
“Everyone wants to see peace and stability in Myanmar for the benefit of Myanmar people,” Anucha cited Prayuth as saying.