Malaysia calls for endgame to Myanmar peace talks

Malaysia calls for endgame to Myanmar peace talks

Malaysia wants a clear endgame in Myanmar's faltering peace process and is advocating direct engagement by the Association of Southeast Asian nations ASEAN states with the junta, and bringing other countries into the fold, its foreign minister said on Tuesday, Aug 10, Saifuddin Abdullah, whose candid remarks about the troubled peace process have angered the junta, and that the ASEAN special Myanmar envoy should have a longer tenure than a year to be more effective.

Myanmar has been living in a spiral of violence since the military seized power last year and ended a decade of tentative democracy, which has resulted in a backlash of protests, strikes and armed resistance that the generals have met with deadly force.

The junta is losing patience with the ASEAN countries, which have a code of non-interference in each member state's affairs, because they don't follow a plan that includes multi-party dialogue, humanitarian aid access and a cessation of hostilities.

During a visit to Thailand, Saifuddin said that it was of the utmost importance that ASEAN members morally support Myanmar's people and engage with opposition groups that were formed after the coup, including a shadow government outlawed by the junta.

He told reporters that it is only one-sided, that we are only engaging the junta.

Myanmar's military has urged ASEAN members not to contact groups it calls terrorists. The military has been deluged by international condemnation after it recently executed four political activists with links to a resistance movement. It defended the executions as lawful and necessary.

Saifuddin said that the foreign ministers of the ASEAN discussed the possibility of third party states helping with the ASEAN-led peace process, which is the only diplomatic process in play.

He said that if ASEAN can't do it alone, we'll probably have to engage some of our ASEAN dialogue partners.