The head of the Burmese junta will be expelled from the next summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the organization announced on Saturday, a firm measure against the military power that declared itself “extremely disappointed”, notes AFP.
ASEAN foreign ministers, who met on Friday, decided that Min Aung Hlaing would not be invited to the October 26-28 summit, said Brunei, which currently holds the organization’s rotating presidency. Instead, it was decided to “invite an apolitical Burmese representative.”
“Myanmar is extremely disappointed and strongly opposes the conclusions of the (ASEAN) meeting of foreign ministers,” the junta’s foreign ministry said in a statement, adding that “discussions and the decision on Myanmar’s representation took place without consensus and are contrary to ASEAN ‘s objectives “.
The Burmese junta had previously criticized the decision, accusing ASEAN of violating the rule of non-interference in the domestic policy of its member states.
“We can also see the interference of other countries (non-members of ASEAN),” Junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun told BBC correspondents.
He alluded to talks ahead of the meeting between US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and ASEAN Emissary for Myanmar, Brunei Deputy Foreign Minister Erywan Yusof, as well as pressure from the European Union.
The organization, which brings together ten Southeast Asian countries, took this exceptional move after the junta rejected requests to send a special representative to dialogue “with all stakeholders”, including former leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was overthrown by to military power in February.
The communiqué noted that “insufficient progress” had been made in implementing a five-point plan, adopted in April, which was to help restore dialogue in Myanmar and facilitate the arrival of humanitarian aid.
For ASEAN, the situation in Myanmar “has an impact on regional security, as well as on the unity, credibility and centrality of the organization,” AFP added.