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Myanmar condemns the decision to exclude the coup leader from the ASEAN conference


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Myanmar's military government has slammed its Southeast Asian neighbours' decision to invite only a non-political representative to an upcoming regional meeting, an insult to the leader of the February 1 coup, as calls for more international pressure on the coup leaders rise.


The military administration's foreign ministry claimed in a news release on Friday that Myanmar's heads of state and government have equal and full rights to attend ASEAN summits (ASEAN).

 

The next summit will be held on the 26th and 28th of October.
It's unclear who will now represent Myanmar at the summit, if anyone.


"Any conclusion of the discussions and decisions that is...contrary to the provisions, objectives, and treasured principles of the ASEAN Charter would not be acceptable to Myanmar," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

 

According to the United Nations, Myanmar security forces have killed over 1,000 civilians and jailed thousands more during a crackdown on strikes and protests that has disrupted the country's fragile democracy and drawn international condemnation.

 

International pressure has mounted on ASEAN to adopt a tougher stance against Myanmar's inability to implement agreed-upon procedures to cease violence, enable humanitarian access, and initiate talks with its opponents, as outlined in an April ASEAN "consensus."

 

‘Unusual bold step’

 

Last week's decision by ASEAN foreign ministers at an emergency meeting was an extraordinarily bold move for the consensus-driven organisation, which has historically favoured engagement and non-interference policies.


According to individuals familiar with the negotiations, ministers were split between maintaining to a tradition of non-interference and the need to maintain credibility by penalising coup leader Min Aung Hlaing, who has led the crackdown on dissent since seizing power from Myanmar's civilian government.

 

Following the summit, the military stated that ASEAN's decision went against its long-standing values.

 

Meanwhile, UN Special Rapporteur on the state of human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, has urged the UN General Assembly to act and deny Myanmar's military authorities "everything it needs to keep keeping people hostage: money, weapons, and legitimacy."

 

He stated, "This action is required since weapons and dual-use technology have continued to be supplied and shipped to the junta."


Andrews also asked for sanctions against Myanmar's oil and gas industry, which he claims is the military government's single largest source of revenue.

 

As the military pushes "tens of thousands of troops, heavy equipment, and other military assets" into the country's northern area, where rebels are fighting the government, the UN special envoy warned of further possible slaughter.


"Unfortunately, we are on the verge of another another disaster, with a massive loss of innocent life and even more human rights breaches," he warned.

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