(Reuters) – Myanmar’s junta chief Min Aung Hlaing met with a special envoy from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), state media reported on Thursday as Laos takes over chairing the bloc, which has encouraged peace efforts in the country.
The military ruler met Alounkeo Kittikhoun, special envoy of the ASEAN chair on Myanmar, in the country’s capital Naypyitaw amid frustration with the lack of progress by Myanmar’s generals in achieving peace under a plan agreed among ASEAN member states including Myanmar in late 2021.
Myanmar has seen a ceaseless cycle of violence since the military seized power from an elected government in a 2021 coup. ASEAN has repeatedly urged the junta to halt hostilities and implement its “five-point consensus”, but with little impact.
In recent months, violence has intensified as armed ethnic groups fighting for democracy and autonomy step up their efforts against the military, capturing outposts and even a major commercial town on the border with China.
While Myanmar’s generals have been barred from high-level ASEAN meetings, the bloc has maintained relations with the junta, especially through the office of the special envoy, leadership of which rotates among the member states every year.
State-owned newspaper Global New Light of Myanmar reported the two leaders discussed “efforts of the government to ensure peace and stability of the State and national reconciliation”.
Min Aung Hlaing said his administration is “implementing the ASEAN five-point consensus adjusted with the roadmap of the State Administration Council”, according to the newspaper.
(Reporting by Reuters staff; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor and Cynthia Osterman)