Singapore says ASEAN aims to speed up plan to end Myanmar crisis

Reuters
Singapore Updated: Jul 07, 2021, 11:36 PM(IST)

Singapore's Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

United Nations lawmakers called on Myanmar's military to respect November election results and release political detainees, including Suu Kyi, last month

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was working to expedite the implementation of a five-point consensus reached by their leaders to deal with the crisis in Myanmar, Singapore's foreign minister said on Tuesday.

"We recognise that implementation of the Five-Point Consensus has been slow and a little disappointing," Vivian Balakrishnan said in written replies to parliamentary questions.

Also read | ASEAN envoys meet Myanmar junta leader to press for dialogue

"We are working within ASEAN to expedite this process, with a view to alleviate the humanitarian situation, cease the violence in Myanmar, and set it back on the path of direct negotiation by all stakeholders that will lead to normalcy, peace, and stability for the long term," he said.

In April, ASEAN announced a five-point consensus towards resolving the crisis, though no timeframe was agreed.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military ousted Aung San Suu Kyi's elected government on Feb. 1, with almost daily protests and fighting between the army and newly formed militias.

Last month, the United Nations General Assembly called for a stop to the flow of arms to Myanmar and urged the military to respect November election results and release political detainees, including Suu Kyi.

Also read | United Nations calls for halt of weapons to Myanmar

Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam and Myanmar's UN Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, who speaks for the country's elected civilian government, voted in support of the resolution, while Brunei, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand abstained.

An initial draft UN resolution included stronger language calling for an arms embargo on Myanmar. According to a proposal seen by Reuters in May, nine Southeast Asian countries, including Singapore, wanted that language removed.

Balakrishnan said ASEAN would not waiver in its commitment to facilitate and support the process in line with the five-point consensus, although it would not be "quick or easy."

He said Singapore voted in favour of the UN resolution as the key elements of the resolution are consistent with the city-state's position.

Also read | Myanmar rejects UN resolution urging arms embargo

He added that Singapore complies strictly with international obligations on international arms sales and transfers, and abides by UN sanctions or embargo against any country.

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