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Myanmar's military leader was not invited to the ASEAN meeting

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Concerns about the military government's commitment to defusing a deadly situation have led to Min Aung Hlaing's exclusion.


Southeast Asian countries will invite a non-political delegate from Myanmar to a regional conference later this month, a rare snub to the military leader who staged a coup against an elected civilian government in February.

The decision, reached at an emergency summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Friday night, is a rare bold move for the consensus-driven group, which has historically favoured engagement and non-interference policies.


The decision to exclude military government chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing was a "tough but necessary choice to protect ASEAN's credibility," Singapore's foreign ministry said on Saturday.

The statement cited "insufficient progress" not implementing a five-point strategy agreed upon by ASEAN leaders in April to address the unrest that followed the coup attempt.


Brunei, ASEAN's current chair, said a non-political official from Myanmar would be invited to the October 26-28 summit after a political representative could not be found.

"Some ASEAN Member States recommended that ASEAN give space to Myanmar to restore its internal affairs and return to normalcy," Brunei said in a statement, citing "insufficient progress" and "concerns over Myanmar's commitment, in particular on establishing constructive dialogue among all concerned parties.


It made no mention of Min Aung Hlaing or the person who would take his position.


Zaw Min Tun, a spokesman for Myanmar's military government, blamed "foreign intervention" for Min Aung Hlaing's rare exclusion from the summit, telling the BBC Burmese news service that the US and representatives from the European Union had pressured other ASEAN leaders to exclude the military leader from the summit later this month.


"We can see the foreign interventions here as well," he remarked.
"Previously, we discovered that several envoys from other nations met with US foreign affairs officials and were subjected to EU pressure."

Myanmar's military stated in a statement released early Sunday that ASEAN's decision went against the organization's long-standing basic concept of consensus.


"Myanmar is deeply disappointed and strongly objects to the outcomes of the Emergency Foreign Ministers' Meeting," it said, "because the discussions and decision on Myanmar's representation issue were made without consensus and in violation of ASEAN's objectives, the ASEAN Charter, and its principles."

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