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Singapore foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan reiterates 'deep disappointment' over Myanmar situation

Singapore foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan reiterates 'deep disappointment' over Myanmar situation

Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan attends a Special Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Jakarta on Oct 27, 2022. (Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

SINGAPORE: Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan on Friday (Oct 27) reiterated Singapore's "deep disappointment" over the situation in Myanmar, which has been trapped in a cycle of violence since a coup in February last year.

He was speaking at a Special Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Jakarta, convened to assess progress on the implementation of a Five-Point Consensus on Myanmar and to discuss possible next steps ahead of the biannual ASEAN Summits in Phnom Penh next month.

"The foreign ministers discussed the situation in Myanmar and expressed deep regret over the loss of lives from the recent airstrikes in Kachin State," said Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a statement on Friday.

"Minister Balakrishnan reiterated Singapore's deep disappointment at the lack of progress in the implementation of the Five-Point Consensus, the escalation of violence and the worsening situation on the ground."

The airstrikes last Sunday killed at least 50 civilians, including singers and officers of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), according to media reports.

An ethnic minority force that has long fought for greater autonomy for the Kachin people, the KIA has opposed military rule in the wake of last year's coup, which ousted an elected civilian government led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

The regime change has prompted the emergence of opposition movements, some armed, across the country, which the military has countered with lethal action.

Southeast Asian countries have led efforts to bring peace to Myanmar, but the junta has done little to implement the consensus agreed upon last April.

At Thursday's meeting, Dr Balakrishnan urged Myanmar's military authorities to "swiftly and fully implement" the plan, which includes granting the ASEAN Chair's Special Envoy on Myanmar access to all stakeholders and facilitating the swift, equitable and transparent distribution of humanitarian assistance to all in need, without discrimination, said MFA.

"He reaffirmed the need for ASEAN to engage all stakeholders in Myanmar soon and called for constructive dialogue among all parties concerned to seek a peaceful solution in the interests of the people of Myanmar."

The foreign ministers agreed to continue discussing recommendations to be proposed to ASEAN leaders at the upcoming summits, MFA added.

Thursday's meeting at the ASEAN secretariat in the Indonesian capital was not attended by any representatives from Myanmar.

Myanmar had been invited to send a non-political representative, but the junta did not agree.

Source: CNA/Reuters/kg(jo)
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