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ASEAN to rethink Peace Plan if Myanmar Executes more Prisoners

According to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday, if Myanmar's military authorities carry out more executions of detainees, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will be compelled to reevaluate a peace agreement reached with Myanmar.


 


The 10-nation group had been pressuring Myanmar to follow a five-point "consensus" for peace that it had agreed to the previous year and had denounced the junta's most recent death of four democratic campaigners.


 


At the outset of a gathering of the ASEAN foreign ministers, Hun Sen, current chair of the organisation, said “If more prisoners are executed, we will be forced to rethink...our role vis a vis ASEAN's five-point consensus”.


 


According to Hun Sen, the political and security ramifications of the crisis in Myanmar, which has erupted into an economic and humanitarian disaster, have threatened ASEAN's unity.


 


Although the five-point consensus "had not advanced to everyone's wishes," the prime minister stated that there had been some progress, especially in the provision of humanitarian help.


 


The junta's death of the activists, he continued, had "changed dramatically" the situation and made it appear to be even worse than it was before the peace pact.


 


Cambodia along with other ASEAN member states "are deeply disappointed and disturbed by the execution of those opposition activists, despite the appeals from me and others for the death sentences to be reconsidered," said Hun Sen.


 


Last week, the military in Myanmar described the activists' death as "justice for the people," ignoring a barrage of worldwide criticism, including that of its near neighbours.


 


The activists were executed, according to the military, for helping "terror acts" by a civil resistance movement; this was the first execution in Myanmar in many years.


 


Myanmar's military authorities rejected a suggestion to send a non-junta representative in place of them, thus the country won't be represented at this week's summit, an ASEAN chair spokesperson announced on Monday.


 


Due to its slow implementation of the peace plan, ASEAN has prohibited the Myanmar junta from attending its summits since late last year.


 


Other ASEAN nations, which traditionally respect each other's internal issues, have become more outspoken in their condemnation of the generals.


 


Saifuddin Abdullah, the foreign minister of Malaysia, said the executions were a crime against humanity and seemed to "mock" the ASEAN peace plan.


 


Efforts to implement the peace plan have stalled, according to Min Aung Hlaing, the leader of Myanmar's junta, who on Monday blamed internal conflict and instability connected to the pandemic.


 


The junta also extended the state of emergency that had been imposed after wresting control from Aung San Suu Kyi's civilian government in February of last year.


 


Since then, Myanmar has descended into anarchy, with the violence spreading as a result of the army's suppression of primarily peaceful rallies in cities and towns.


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