he Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Special Envoy on Myanmar will start his second tour to the country on Wednesday, following up on the bloc’s peace plan and humanitarian assistance for the country that has been in social, political and economic turmoil since last year’s coup.
Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said the trip to Myanmar aimed to “contribute to building an environment conducive to an inclusive political dialogue through the meetings with all parties concerned.”
Following last year’s military takeover, Myanmar has seen nationwide popular armed resistance to the junta. The military regime has killed at least 2,000 civilians so far for their anti-coup activism.
The five-day visit by ASEAN envoy Prak Sokhonn comes just a day after his call to Myanmar’s regime to return the country’s detained democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi from solitary confinement in prison to the location in the capital Naypyitaw where she was originally detained.
Prak Sokhonn was appointed as the ASEAN special envoy for Myanmar earlier this year to mediate between all parties concerned as required by the bloc’s peace plan for Myanmar, known as the Five-Point Consensus.
After the regime’s brutal post-coup crackdowns on protesters, ASEAN last year adopted a five-point peace plan for Myanmar, including an immediate cessation of the junta’s violence against its own people.
However, the plan has largely been criticized as a failure, as the junta has continued to commit extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and the torching of civilian properties as it tries to crush armed resistance across the country. At the same time, ASEAN’s plan to provide humanitarian assistance to the country has been denounced by rights groups for allowing the junta to distribute the aid, amid fears that the military regime will use the relief supplies for its own benefit.
Given the regime’s ongoing atrocities, the envoy’s second trip to Myanmar seems unlikely to result in any breakthroughs. His first visit to the country in early May produced no tangible results after Prak Sokhonn met only with junta officials.
Like last time, he will not be allowed to meet Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
In May, Cambodia’s prime minister Hun Sen, the current ASEAN chair, urged the Myanmar regime leader to let ASEAN’s envoy meet with Suu Kyi and detained President U Win Myint to “create a conducive environment to start an inclusive political dialogue.”
However, regime chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing responded that he would only “facilitate meetings with other parties concerned,” meaning that the envoy will not meet with Suu Kyi or U Win Myint during his visit.