Unabated Efforts: Cambodia Continues Push to Help Resolve Myanmar Conflict


Hang Punreay | Khmer Times - TRANSCEND Media Service

Members of the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army hold the group’s flag atop a captured junta military tank.  AP

13 Jun 2024 – As the conflict in Myanmar continues to escalate at an alarming rate, the Foreign Affairs Ministry says Cambodia is committed to pushing for the implementation of ASEAN’s 5-point Consensus and the ability to hold talks with ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Kung Phoak, secretary of state for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said yesterday in a press conference that the government expects Myanmar Junta leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing to examine the possibility of allowing Cambodia’s top leaders to meet with Suu Kyi.

Phoak said that the request for dialogue was made because Cambodia believes it is important to contribute to the dialogue in order to settle Myanmar’s current predicament and that the country should adhere to the 5PC.

The five point consensus include an immediate end to violence in the country, dialogue among all parties and humanitarian assistance by ASEAN.

“I hope Myanmar will consider this and respond positively because this request is for the benefit of Myanmar,” he said. “In 2021 before becoming ASEAN chair, when the political crisis erupted, we actively participated, and during the chairmanship of ASEAN, despite criticism and opposition, we still actively involved in finding a solution to the political crisis.”

Kung Phoak, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, addressing the press conference on 12 Jun 2024. KT/Heng Chivoan

He said that Cambodia tried to do everything possible to contribute to settlement in Myanmar and engaged in activities to encourage stakeholders to participate in negotiations.

“Even after completing its ASEAN chairmanship, Cambodia still plays an important role in finding a solution in Myanmar, participate in finding a solution, seeing that all stakeholders play a necessary role in helping Myanmar avoid the tragedy that Cambodia has experienced in the past,” Phoak said.

Phoak said that current ASEAN Chair Laos, 2022 ASEAN chair, Cambodia and next Malaysian chair will have a meeting in July in a bid to resolve the Myanmar crisis.

“All relevant parties will have ASEAN troika meeting in Ventiane to attach with foreign affairs ministers’ meeting and related meetings at the end of July,” Phoak said, noting that the initiative was raised by Senate President Hun Sen when he held a video meeting with Sen Gen Min Aung Hlaing, the chairman of the State Administration Council (SAC), on May 7.

He said that engaging in the search for a solution in Myanmar is a question of family loyalty, and so that Myanmar could achieve unity, peace, stability, and development, as well as the interests of Myanmar and ASEAN as a whole.

He added that at the request of Mr Hun Sen, progress will be made, and all actions will benefit stakeholders, including ASEAN.

Mr Hun Sen also raised the Myanmar issue yesterday while meeting with Igor Driesmans, EU Ambassador to Cambodia at the Senate.

Mr Hun Sen and Driesmans expressed concern about the more complicated situation, particularly in the socioeconomic field, noting that a negotiated solution is required to end the stalemate in Myanmar, according to Mr Hun Sen’s minutes.

“Samdech Techo is determined not to give up on helping Myanmar in its quest for peace, with patience as the situation in Myanmar remains difficult and complicated,” a Senate statement said.

During the May 7 video call with Sen Gen Min Aung Hlaing, Mr Hun Sen requested the junta leader to consider arranging a video meeting between him and detained former state counsellor Suu Kyi.

He explained that the purpose of the video meeting is to inquire about the well-being of the National League for Democracy (NLD) leader, stating that Suu Kyi was a former colleague with whom he had worked in ASEAN affairs for many years.

The junta is facing challenges since the coup, with a youth-led pro-democracy uprising morphing into an armed resistance movement and also engaging in fighting along with some ethnic minority armies in the northern and eastern regions of the country. There have been reports of the resisting forces gaining ground.

Maung Zarni, a UK-exiled Myanmar human rights activist known for his strong opposition to the violence in Rakhine State and the Rohingya refugee crisis, said in a recent interview that Cambodia should take a leading role within ASEAN, in collaboration with the two more powerful Asian nations, to bring real peace and ceasefire to that war-torn country, an initiative he refers to as the “Phnom Penh Peace Process.”

Zarni suggested that Cambodia take a leading role in what he called “the Phnom Penh Peace Process” to bring peace to his country and people while the Asian powers, including China, India, and other ASEAN countries provide their support and assistance to the process, starting with the overall recognition that Myanmar is not able to build peace itself.

“Maybe we can have the Phnom Penh Peace Process and the Phnom Penh Peace Conference, where everybody would be brought in,” he said. “The key is that the Junta must be put under pressure by China, making sure that everyone needs to join this process.”

Zarni said Mr Hun Sen has shown enough willingness to address the issue by asking to meet Suu Kyi during a meeting with Junta leader Sen Gen Min Aung Hlaing, although the request has been denied.

Go to Original – khmertimeskh.com

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