Sunday, December 5, 2021

Myanmar junta agrees to ASEAN call for ceasefire

Myanmar’s military rulers have agreed to ASEAN’s call for a ceasefire until the end of the year to ensure the continued distribution of humanitarian aid. This latest development was revealed by the Japanese news agency Kyodo, Sunday (5/9), citing the statement of the Southeast Asian bloc’s envoy to the crisis-hit country.

Following the coup in February, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has sought to end violence in Myanmar in which hundreds have died, and open dialogue between military rulers and their opponents.

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Kyodo revealed that the envoy, Erywan Yusof, proposed a ceasefire in a videoconference with Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin, and the military had accepted it.

Brunei’s Second Foreign Minister Erywan Pehin Yusof addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at United Nations headquarters in New York City, New York. (Photo: Reuters)

“This is not a political ceasefire. This is a ceasefire to ensure the safety, and security of humanitarian workers in their efforts to safely distribute aid,” Yusof said, according to the report disclosed Sunday.

“The Myanmar military agrees with what I said, regarding the ceasefire,” the envoy said.

Yusof has also conveyed his proposals indirectly to parties opposing military rule, he added.

A Myanmar military spokesman did not answer phone calls from Reuters for comment.

Myanmar pro-democracy activist Thinzar ShunLei Yi told Reuters, the junta cannot be trusted to honor the deal, and the ceasefire gives the military more time to prepare for an attack.

Maw Htun Aung, a deputy minister in the National Unity Government created by opponents of military rule, said ASEAN needed to tell the junta to stop killing and terrorizing its own people.

In an interview with ReutersLast Saturday, Erywan said he was still negotiating with the military on terms of a visit he hoped to take before the end of October, and was seeking access to ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

“What we are calling for now is for all parties to stop the violence, especially those related to the distribution of humanitarian aid,” he said.

ASEAN countries and their dialogue partners have pledged $8 million in aid for Myanmar, he added.

The military seized power after accusing it of irregularities in the election, which was won convincingly by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party. International monitoring bodies and the election commission at the time said the military’s accusations were untrue. [ab/uh]

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