Asean deems Myanmar issue a ‘family problem’

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations had talked about the Myanmar situation as if it were a “family problem.”

“Then one after another the leaders spoke with equal candor of the ASEAN family’s concern. It felt like a close family meeting about a family problem,” Locsin posted on his Twitter.

Locsin made the statement after attending the ASEAN Special Summit on Myanmar in Jakarta over the weekend on behalf of President Rodrigo Duterte, who was not able to attend due to security concerns.

Myanmar junta chief leader Min Aung Hlaing attended the summit.

The country’s top diplomat recalled that the discussion on the Myanmar issue started with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen who spoke of “his personal experience in the struggle for power in post-Pol Pot Cambodia.”

Pol Pot was a revolutionary leader who governed Cambodia as prime minister between 1975 and 1979. Internationally, he had been denounced for his role in the Cambodian genocide as leader of the Khmer Rouge responsible for the killing of two million people.

“The most candid exchange of views among the top leaders of Southeast Asia, starting with Hun Sen speaking of his personal experience in the struggle for power in post-Pol Pot Cambodia. He put his notes aside and spoke from his life. Stunning. Then one after another . . .” Locsin said.

“Spoke with equal candor of the ASEAN family’s concern. It felt like a close family meeting about a family problem. So privileged to have been there. I spoke for the President and I hope I did him proud. These are his personal friends.”

The summit was held by the 10-member ASEAN to come up with a common stand on the crisis in Myanmar, which started in early February after the military overthrew the country’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

It triggered a popular revolt followed by a violent crackdown on protests and civilians that left 738 killed by security forces.

ASEAN leaders called on Myanmar's military to restore democracy and stop committing violence against its citizens.

"The first requested commitment is for the Myanmar military to stop the use of violence and that all parties there at the same time must refrain so that tensions can be reduced," Indonesian president Joko Widodo said Saturday.

"The violence must be stopped and democracy, stability and peace in Myanmar must be restored,” Widodo added.

“See. It was a success. An all ASEAN family event. No outsiders welcome or had any influence whatsoever; quite the contrary. Thank you, General,” Locsin said.

Duterte was not the only head of state who failed to attend the summit. Most member-states sent representatives, mostly their foreign ministers, to keep in line with the ASEAN’s principles of consensus and non-interference that restrict the member-states from meddling in the domestic affairs of other members.

The Philippines also did not join the earlier United Nations Human Rights Council resolution that called for the release of the country’s civilian leader, Suu Kyi. The country maintained that the crisis in Myanmar should be resolved domestically.

The summit came after the European Union imposed stiff sanctions on the militarily-controlled Myanmar.

Topics: Teodoro Locsin Jr , Association of Southeast Asian Nations , ASEAN Special Summit , Southeast Asia , Aung San Suu Kyi , Joko Widodo
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