Myanmar’s Sagaing region is a hotbed of resistance to military rule and women are forced to flee when soldiers appear.
Myanmar’s military has made no significant progress in implementing a Southeast Asian roadmap for peace following their coup or given any feedback on the work of a regional envoy in the country, Indonesia’s foreign minister has said.
At a meeting on Monday, most foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) expressed disappointment at Myanmar and would relay that message to their country’s leaders, Retno Marsudi told a news conference.
She said ASEAN had offered to help stop the situation from worsening in Myanmar, which has been rocked by months of turmoil since the generals seized power on February 1, but its envoy had cited challenges with access to all parties in the country.
Malaysia’s foreign minister warned Myanmar could be excluded from this month’s summit of ASEAN leaders if it refuses to cooperate with ASEAN’s special envoy in resolving the crisis.
Saifuddin Abdullah said Malaysia was “disappointed” at the lack of cooperation with Erywan Yusof, Brunei’s second foreign minister, who took on the job in August.
He is reportedly still negotiating with Myanmar’s military on the terms of a visit.
“Unless there is progress, it would be difficult to have” Myanmar’s military leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing at the ASEAN summit later this month, he tweeted.
Last month, Yusof said he was seeking full access to all parties, including Aung San Suu Kyi, and other officials who the military detained during their power grab.
In a report last week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the opportunity to prevent the army from entrenching its rule could be narrowing.
He welcomed Yusof’s appointment but with ASEAN’s slow progress, he called for unified regional and international action to prevent the crisis from becoming a large-scale conflict and multi-faceted “catastrophe” in Southeast Asia and beyond.
The military regine has claimed, without evidence, that the general election Aung Sun Suu Kyi’s party won last November in a landslide was marred by widespread fraud.
Security forces have used force to try and quash the peaceful protests and mass disobedience movement that emerged in the wake of the coup, killing more than 1,100 people, according to the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners, a human rights group that has been tracking the situation.
Opponents of military rule have turned to armed self-defence, sabotage and killings of soldiers and officials on a near-daily basis.
Min Aung Hlaing has said there will be fresh elections in two years and earlier promised to cooperate with ASEAN on finding a political solution.