No ‘significant progress’ in implementing ASEAN’s Five-Point Consensus on Myanmar: PM Lee to PM Hun Sen
SINGAPORE: There has not been “any significant progress” in the implementation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' (ASEAN) Five-Point Consensus on Myanmar since its adoption last year, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted during a video call with his Cambodian counterpart on Friday (Jan 14).
During the call, Mr Hun Sen briefed the Singapore Prime Minister on Cambodia’s priorities and agenda as ASEAN chair this year, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a press statement on Saturday.
Mr Hun Sen visited Myanmar earlier this month for talks with its military rulers – the first by a head of government to Myanmar since the army overthrew the elected administration of Aung San Suu Kyi on Feb 1 last year.
The coup sparked months of violent protests.
ASEAN’s Five-Point Consensus was adopted on Apr 24 last year, at a meeting at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta between ASEAN leaders and Myanmar’s Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.
What is the Five-Point Consensus?
During a meeting in April last year, ASEAN leaders reached a consensus about the situation in Myanmar.
The five points are:
First, there shall be immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar and all parties shall exercise utmost restraint.
Second, constructive dialogue among all parties concerned shall commence to seek a peaceful solution in the interests of the people.
Third, a special envoy of the ASEAN chair shall facilitate mediation of the dialogue process, with the assistance of the secretary-general of ASEAN.
Fourth, ASEAN shall provide humanitarian assistance through the AHA Centre.
Fifth, the special envoy and delegation shall visit Myanmar to meet with all parties concerned.
"Prime Minister Lee expressed his view that until there was significant progress in implementing the Five-Point Consensus, ASEAN should maintain its decision reached at the 38th and 39th ASEAN summits of inviting a non-political representative from Myanmar to ASEAN meetings," said MFA.
“Any discussion to revise the ASEAN Leaders’ decision had to be based on new facts. Prime Minister Lee emphasised the need for the ASEAN Chair to engage all parties concerned, including the Tatmadaw and the National League for Democracy (NLD),” the ministry added.
“The Tatmadaw had proposed a ceasefire with Ethnic Armed Organisations only but the call for a cessation of violence in the Five-Point Consensus referred also, and indeed primarily, to violence against the Tatmadaw’s political opponents and civilians.”
Just days after Mr Hun Sen’s visit, there were further attacks by the Tatmadaw against its political opponents, and additional prison sentences were imposed on Ms Aung San Suu Kyi, Mr Lee noted.
According to MFA, the Cambodian PM also made proposals on how to coordinate a ceasefire in Myanmar and deliver humanitarian assistance to the people.
Mr Lee said he was unsure what role ASEAN or the ASEAN chair’s special envoy on Myanmar could play in coordinating a ceasefire since “we did not even have access to all parties”, according to MFA.
“However, Singapore had no in-principle objections to such a mechanism if it could foster an end to violence,” MFA added.
Mr Lee said there was a need for the delivery of humanitarian assistance to progress, with the involvement of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre) and with the cooperation of the Tatmadaw.
He agreed that the proposals raised by Cambodia should be further discussed among ASEAN foreign ministers and senior officials.
“Prime Minister Lee hoped that Cambodia would consider his views and those of other ASEAN leaders,” said MFA.
“He reaffirmed Singapore’s commitment to work with Cambodia and other ASEAN Member States on the full implementation of ASEAN’s Five-Point Consensus and relevant ASEAN decisions.”
Mr Lee also reaffirmed Singapore's support for Cambodia's ASEAN chairmanship and thanked Mr Hun Sen for the briefing.