Myanmar’s junta played down the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ decision to strip it of the chairmanship in 2026, saying it had other priorities that includes making preparations to hold elections seen by the West as a sham.
(Bloomberg) — Myanmar’s junta played down the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ decision to strip it of the chairmanship in 2026, saying it had other priorities that includes making preparations to hold elections seen by the West as a sham.
With violence in Myanmar only getting worse since the military coup more than two years ago, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. announced on Tuesday that his country was ready to stand-in and helm the 10-nation regional bloc in three years. Myanmar hasn’t been invited to Asean meetings since the 2021 coup.
“There are a lot of things to do with preparations for general elections, restoring stability and the rule of law, which we will mainly prioritize on,” junta spokesman Major General Zaw Min Tun said on Tuesday. “There could be some disturbances” if Myanmar were to take on the chairmanship, he said.
While Asean has led diplomatic efforts to end the violence in Myanmar, it remains deeply divided over how to engage a military that has killed thousands in its country. The bloc has come under scrutiny for its slow handling of the Myanmar crisis using a five-point consensus that its leaders formally agreed to continue pursuing on Tuesday.
In the document, the region agreed to mobilize support from external partners, while also condemning “continued acts of violence in Myanmar, which have caused prolonged suffering among the people, humanitarian crisis, and destruction of public facilities and adversely impacted regional stability, particularly along the border region.”
Although Myanmar was consulted on the draft document, “the views and voices of Myanmar are not taken into account,” Myanmar’s Foreign Ministry said during a television broadcast Tuesday evening. “The reviews are not objective and decisions are bias and one-sided.”
Myanmar’s junta, which is fighting a multi-front conflict with several ethnic armed groups across the country, continues to use force to crack down on its citizens and political rivals critical of its authoritarian rule.
The military extended the state of emergency in July which effectively delayed the election. Myanmar will likely hold elections in 2025, leaders of military backed political parties including the Union Solidarity and Development Party and the Arakan Front Party said on Tuesday.
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