ASEAN foreign ministers back ‘Myanmar-owned and led’ solution to crisis

Southeast Asian foreign ministers on Monday (Jan 29) pressed for an end to Myanmar’s bloody conflict and expressed unity in their backing for a regional peace plan and a “Myanmar-owned and led solution” to the crisis.

In a statement after an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) retreat, the ministers gave support for efforts by the new special envoy on the crisis, from Laos, in “reaching out to parties concerned” and expressed confidence in his resolve to help the Myanmar people.

Myanmar has been locked in conflict since the military seized power in a coup in 2021 that sparked nationwide chaos and abruptly ended a decade of tentative democracy and economic reform.

The new special envoy, Alounkeo Kittikhoun, met the junta chief during a visit to Myanmar earlier this month, according to its state media. Neither ASEAN nor Laos has yet made an announcement about that trip and it is unclear if he met any anti-junta groups.

“We reaffirmed ASEAN’s commitment to assisting Myanmar in finding a peaceful, comprehensive, and durable solution to the ongoing crisis, as Myanmar remains an integral part of ASEAN,” the minister said in the statement.

“We reaffirmed ASEAN unity and reiterated that any effort should support, in line with the (peace plan) and in coordination with the chair,” it said, urging cessation of violence and restraint to allow humanitarian access.

ASEAN has faced internal discord over how to address the crisis.

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