Kingdom, EU top diplomats discuss Myanmar crisis

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Cambodian top diplomat Prak Sokhonn on January 20 briefed his EU counterpart Josep Borrell on the latest developments related to the ongoing crisis in the bloc’s second largest country. PRAK SOKHONN

Cambodian top diplomat Prak Sokhonn on January 20 briefed his EU counterpart Josep Borrell on the latest developments related to the ongoing crisis in the bloc’s second largest country, and initiatives to remedy the situation.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since February 1, 2021, when the military dissolved the civilian-led administration over alleged election irregularities and declared a one-year state of emergency.

The military formed the State Administrative Council [SAC] the following day, as the primary ruling body, with Defence Services commander-in-chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing as chairman.

Sokhonn, who is also ASEAN special envoy to Myanmar, held a phone conversation with Borrell, who “acknowledged that the situation in Myanmar is complex and difficult”, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said in a statement on January 20.

“He also expressed concern regarding the ongoing crisis in Myanmar and sought Cambodia’s plan to address the situation.

“In response, [Sokhonn] briefed the outcomes of the visit of [Prime Minister Hun Sen] to Myanmar from 7-8 January 2022, which served as a step forward in trying to make gain on the implementation of the 5-Pont Consensus [5-PC],” the ministry said.

The foreign minister said the premier’s trip “brought about many positive outcomes including the [SAC’s] pledge to extend the ceasefire to the end of the year and to end violence, to support the special envoy to carry out the mandate and to meet all parties concerned, to facilitate a meeting with relevant stakeholders, among others”, it added.

The ministry said Hun Sen proposed two initiatives following the visit, “namely the establishment of a mechanism composed of the ASEAN Troika and the ASEAN secretary-general to coordinate and monitor the implementation of the 5-PC and the Consultative Meeting to discuss ways to distribute humanitarian relief in Myanmar”.

“He also informed of the plan to set up the ‘Friend of Myanmar’ group, an initiative by Brunei Darussalam focusing on humanitarian assistance, and sought EU support and participation.

“[Sokhonn] stressed that the endeavours taken by Cambodia to address the crisis in Myanmar are guided by the 5-PC and the ASEAN Charter and are based on Cambodia’s past experience,” the ministry added.