Flags are seen outside the ASEAN secretariat building, ahead of the ASEAN leaders’ meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia. File/Reuters
A Southeast Asia summit this month will invite a non-political representative from Myanmar, a rare rebuke as concerns rise over the military government's commitment to defusing a bloody crisis.
In a statement, ASEAN's current chair Brunei said a non-political figure from Myanmar would be invited to the Oct. 26-28 summit, after no consensus was reached for a political representative to attend.
The bloc, widely considered a toothless organisation, took a strong stand after the junta rebuffed requests for a special envoy to meet with all parties concerned -- a phrase seen to include ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Myanmar’s junta chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing presides an army parade in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. File/Reuters
The decision by foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), at an emergency meeting on Friday night, marks a shift for the bloc, which has traditionally favoured a policy of engagement and non-interference.
The meeting was called to address the failure of Myanmar's junta, which seized power in February, to adhere to a peace roadmap it had agreed to with ASEAN in April, aimed at tackling the fallout from the coup led by Min Aung Hlaing.
Mustafa Izzuddin, a global affairs analyst at consultancy Solaris Strategies Singapore, called the exclusion "a political stopgap measure for ASEAN to assuage international criticism".
Aung San Suu Kyi delivers her address during a meeting in Yangon. File/AFP
"Second, it ensures its regional reputation as an organisation that can still play an active role in Southeast Asian affairs," he told the media.
Foreign ministers in Friday's meeting emphasised the importance of giving ASEAN's envoy to Myanmar, Erywan Yusof, access to all parties concerned, Brunei said.
A long-planned visit by the envoy to Myanmar has been delayed in recent weeks, with Erywan insisting on meeting all parties, including deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been detained on various charges since the coup.
Junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun said this week Erywan would be welcome in the country but would not be allowed to meet Suu Kyi because she is charged with crimes.
The talks will come two days after the bloodiest day of unrest since the military removed Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government a month ago, unleashing anger and mass street protests across Myanmar.
In a joint statement with Malaysia, Brunei said both countries have asked their ministers and senior officials to undertake “necessary preparations for the meeting that will be held at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta, Indonesia.”
The country has been in turmoil since the army ousted the civilian leader in February, launching a bloody crackdown on dissent that has killed more than 900 people according to a local monitoring group.
On November 23, researchers discovered a new "abnormally multiple mutations. Some of the mutations are already known and affect transmissibility and immune evasion, but many more are new.
An official source from the Saudi Interior Ministry said: “It has been decided to allow direct entry of travellers from all countries, for all those who have received a dose of the from 4/12/2021, provided that institutional quarantine procedures are applied to them for three days.”
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